by Cynthia Chow
Details on how to win a copy of Jump the Gun at the end of this review.
For thirty-two years, Beatrice Annabelle Starkey had lived her life according to the rules. A publicity manager for a San Francisco self-help publishing company, Annabelle has always dreamed of somehow living the adventurous life she’s seen in her beloved movies, but it’s not until she meets Mickey Paxton at a Chicago book convention that she allows herself to be swept off her feet and ready to commit an act of previously unthinkable impulsivity. Even before exchanging so much as a kiss, Annabelle follows her heart onto a plane with Mickey to Vegas and onto a trip of chaos, deception, and well–excitement!
Unfortunately, they’ve barely checked in before Annabelle awakens alone with a man who attempts to kidnap her while calling her by the nickname “Bea.” It turns out that Mickey was captured as well and he is incensed to discover that he knows her by a different name. The pair soon manage to overcome their distrust of one another as they meet a senior on the lam from the same retirement home where Annabelle’s grandmother resided, and who provides conflicting stories about who or what she’s running from. Far more devastating, is when Annabelle receives the news that the woman who was housesitting and caring for Annabelle’s attack cat has been murdered in Annabelle own home.
Luckily, as the pair run from their kidnapper, who may possibly be a crooked cop, they hire a cab driver who is himself a former cop and consult with another detective who happens to have been a friend of Mickey’s from college. Insecure when compared to her Stanford professor father and her ER doctor mother, Annabelle manages to hit her stride as she and Mickey follow a surprising trail of clues that lead back to her grandmother’s retirement home and an extremely valuable hatpin.
The author, Burke, takes readers on an extremely enjoyable and exciting ride as Mickey and Annabelle follow a surprisingly intelligent, but always hilarious path towards protecting both their and Annabelle’s parents’ safety. Based on Annabelle’s less-than-sensible impulsivity, I worried at first that she would be a flighty, too-stupid-to-live character. Thankfully, while Annabelle and Mickey’s relationship accelerated on the fast track, it is somehow charming and realistic, if statistically improbable. They share a love for the same food, get each other’s movie references and are fans of the same esoteric tiny indie bands. Annabelle’s relationship with her parents is delightfully mature and loving, and seeing their support of her is heartwarming.
This first in a series highlights an inexperienced, but not over-the-top, delightful heroine who proves her chops as an amateur detective, although how long she will retain that label is up to the author. Showing considerable skill at creating a twisty and fast-moving plot, the author’s new fans will enjoy seeing if Annabelle steps up her game to a more professional level.
To enter to win a copy of Jump the Gun, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Jump,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 7, 2013. U.S. residents only.
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