Society GLBT Artists
Lori L. Lake Wing
"Absorbing and Insightful: Deeper than Meets the Eye" by Ronald L. Donaghe, author of Common Sons
As she did with Ricochet in Time, author Lori L. Lake writes with authority--this time about police training and procedures, the day-to-day rigors of being a St. Paul police officer, and the myriad human conditions police officers must cope with in the line of duty. That is the backdrop of this most absorbing story of two police women. Desiree "Dez" Reilly is an eight year veteran on the force; Jaylynn Savage is a rookie, who has decided to go into law enforcement based upon a late-night encounter with would-be rapists. With this setting of place and circumstance firmly set in the opening pages of this novel, Ms. Lake begins a tale that will continue beyond this first volume. The book is populated with interesting and likeable characters who color the lives of the two female cops as they work out their complicated relationship. Will the stresses they face as cops be too much for their burgeoning friendship?
And then, of course, it's a book about police work. While the sad and complicated interactions with dysfunctional families and petty crooks are accurately caught, and the mind-numbing, plodding daily grind of what the police really do day in and day is represented, there are also some brilliant action scenes. For example, I have imprinted in my mind the scene in Chapter 18, when Dez leads the way into the 7-11 because Jay wants an ice cream snack. The clarity and grit Lake captured on those pages are worth the price of the book.
I also liked the scene by Gooseberry Falls in the early autumn, when Dez and Jay hike up to an outcropping of cliffs there. When they sit down, they end up snuggling together in a little pocket in the rocks, trying to avoid the cold bite of the wind. Dez produces a package of cupcakes from her pocket, surprising Jay (who is perpetually hungry) and demonstrating her transition from the gruff, no-nonsense woman she had once been. Now, Dez is secretly buying junk food treats from the gas station food mart, obviously thinking about Jay's needs before Jay does. It was a deft use of storytelling to illustrate to the reader how Dez had changed, and I loved it.
There are many such skillful, well-plotted uses of "show-don't-tell" laced throughout this book. This is a writer who is learning her craft from the old school. By that I mean, literary-politics aside, I believe the mark of a good writer is found in smooth exposition and character evocative dialogue. Lori Lake has accomplished both with "Gun Shy." The story advances easily and logically, drawing the reader into the plot. You know who is speaking by the way the character is phrasing their line -- Jay, Dez, Luella, the various supporting cast members -- they all have different voices. It is a pleasure to read this kind of writing.
And it is early, yet, in Lake's career. Just think what she'll be capable of
if she keeps producing stories. Frankly, I can't wait for "Under the
Gun." How will Jay and Dez manage a relationship while they are working
together? Will Dez be able to get beyond her fear of personal relationships and
be as brave in facing love as she is in facing everything else? Will Jay ever
get enough to eat? I'm hooked!! More please!!
"An Exciting Genre-Bender" by Marianne K. Martin, author of Mirrors
Ride along with veteran police officer Dez Reilly in this exciting genre-bender by Lori L. Lake. Gun Shy is a fast-paced story with a true-to-life mix of drama, action, and love.
Dez Reilly, like Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski, is a heroine who takes her physical and emotional hits and remarkably keeps on ticking. You'll find yourself alternately pulling for her, yelling at her, and cheering her on as she struggles to find a balance for her life. Lake's heroine, along with her rookie partner, Jaylynn Savage, can easily carry the plots of future Lori Lake adventures.
I am thrilled to see a writer like Lake take the risk, leave formula and genre restrictions behind, and be willing to put in the hard work necessary to put forth a truly creative product. Lake continues to grow and mature in her craft and is poised to guide the characters she has sent out into the world through the grappling necessary for their own maturity. Get introduced to Reilly and Savage now so that you can appreciate their personal and professional struggles as Lake develops them throughout the coming sequels.
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