That’s a totally legit greeting, by the way. Feel free to use it.
This week, I recommend another book that I haven’t finished reading yet. I’m not supposed to do this! But I’m going to do it anyway, because it’s interesting.
Oh, but before I do that, I should say that if you missed my latest newsletter, you might want to check it out, because on Monday (Memorial Day) I’m giving away 50 copies of Flirting with Disaster to newsletter subscribers. All the instructions are in there, so have a look. I’m also giving away two autographed copies of the Along Came Trouble paperback in that newsletter.
Here’s the blurb —
Ellie Watt is used to starting over. The daughter of a grifting team, Ellie spent her childhood being used as a pawn in her parents’ latest scam. Now she’s much older, wiser and ready to give her con artist life a rest. But returning to the dry desert town of Palm Valley, California means one more temptation than she bargained for – Camden McQueen. Once known as the high school weirdo, Camden is bigger and badder than the boy he used to be and a talented tattoo artist with his own thriving business. Ellie’s counting on Camden still being in love with her but what she’s not counting on is how easily unrequited love can turn into obsession over time. When Camden discovers Ellie’s plan to con him, he makes her a deal she doesn’t dare refuse, but her freedom comes with a price and it’s one that takes both Ellie and Camden down a dangerous road.
I’ll admit, I’m only about a quarter of the way through this book — far too soon to know for sure that it won’t take a turn toward suckage. But I’m enjoying Halle’s writing, and it takes a lot for me to get on board with a story whose protagonists are almost guaranteed to screw each other over.
Ellie, the heroine of this book, is planning to con the best friend she screwed over in high school. She’s kind of at loose ends, being hunted by bad guys, friendless, broke — and since they’ve just reconnected and she’s seen his cash register full of money, why not?
Yes. Ellie isn’t a nice person, at all. But reading even a little bit between the lines, you can tell she’s stunted in her personal growth, and you can’t help but hope she’ll make it to a better place by the end of the story. In fact, that’s a lot of the tension for me, just now. Is there any hope for Ellie at ALL?
Sins and Needles is told in two “times,” first-person in the present interspersed with third-person flashbacks to high school, but all are from Ellie’s point of view. This means that the hero, Cam — and, as an aside, anytime we’d like to stop naming heroes “Cam,” I’m on board with that — is kind of a cipher. But it seems fairly clear already that Ellie is an idiot to think she’s conning him. He just has to be conning her. Which means, in turn, that the book is going to get even worse, soon, with lots of additional manipulation and recrimination, while they are also engaged in the business of accidentally falling in love.
It’s kind of delicious.
This isn’t the sort of thing I usually like, but it’s totally working here, I think because the writing is solid and the characters are almost likable, and very human. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
p.s. I’ll be missing the Friday giveaway, so you’ll have to make do with the newsletter giveaway + free advance copies of Flirting with Disaster. See you next week!