Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great thrill ride, good characters, laughs
Cons: Truly, none worth dwelling on
The Bottom Line:
Thriller come to life
Sends Ian on the run in
Page turning debut
I Truly Enjoyed This Book, and that’s Not Fiction
I first found screenwriter and novelist Lee Goldberg when he started writing tie ins for Diagnosis: Murder, and I’ve followed his career ever since, both on and off screen. That means that True Fiction would have been on my radar anyway, but as soon as I heard the premise, I was completely sold.
When terrorists take control of a plane leaving Hawaii and crash it into the island, the entire country is horrified. But none more so than thriller writer Ian Ludlow. You see, he had suggested just the twist on 9/11 that happened here to the CIA a few years back during a brainstorming session to help them come up with worst case scenarios. Within a few hours, Ian is certain that the CIA is out to kill him to silence him. Using every trick in the book – tricks he knows thanks to the books he’s written, Ian flees from his book tour in Seattle with his author escort, Margo French. Will the two be able to survive?
I knew this wasn’t one of my normal cozies when I sat down to read it, and I will say I appreciated how sparingly foul language was used. Too many authors seem to use it as padding, but here it felt like it was warranted when it was used. There was a bit of sex and violence thrown in as well, which is typical for a thriller, although some of what is intended for laughs flirts with the line of good taste, at least for me.
This thrill ride doesn’t waste a second but pulls us in from the very first page. I was turning pages quickly the entire way through as Ian tried to figure out how to survive this situation. The climax was perfect. What’s truly scary is, I could picture parts of this happening. The book managed to turn a few clinches of the genre on their heads, winking at us as it did.
One thing I enjoy in Lee’s books is the humor, and this book had plenty in it that I enjoyed. This may be a thriller, but it has humor in it, too, and it’s wonderful for breaking the tension. This isn’t a laugh a page comedy, but it is slipped in there, sometimes unexpectedly. It caught me off guard a few times and truly made me laugh. And yet, the book never forgets the very real story unfolding.
The characters help ground it as well. Ian and Margo are both well drawn, making them easy to root for. The villain of the piece is just as well drawn. There is one major character who manages to walk that fine line of being eccentric without feeling out of place. In fact, he was one of my favorites.
True Fiction is as much fun as I expected it to be. The pages flew by all too quickly. Fortunately, this is the first in a series. I already have the sequel on my to be read list.