Monday, August 31, 2009

Nerd of Noir Review

This review by the Nerd of Noir left me speechless, in the best and most grateful way. The Nerd rocks. If I could go back in time, this is the guy I'd ask to the prom...

A Bad Day for Sorry is the debut of Sophie Littlefield and the introduction of what will no fucking doubt be a popular as all hell character named Stella Hardesty. This shit definitely reminds the Nerd of One for the Money, the first in the bounty hunter series by Janet Evanovich. Hopefully, as Littlefield’s series goes on, it won’t fall into some of the lamer-than-fucking-lame traps that Evanovich’s series has fallen head-fucking-first into.

A Bad Day for Sorry is about the search for rural Missouri woman’s son, a job capably handled by a gutsy old gal named Stella Hardesty. Stella murdered her abusive husband a few years back and has since taken side jobs teaching other women’s nasty husbands violent lessons, threatening them with guns and bondage equipment. But when Chrissy Shaw’s royal dick of a husband, Roy Dean, kidnaps her son, the stakes are undoubtedly fucking raised.

Right off the bat, Stella Hardesty proves herself an exciting and fresh character. She’s fifty years old and tough-as-they-fucking-come, and thankfully, Littlefield doesn’t paint her as a feisty cougar (sweet fucking Christ, did I just write the term “cougar”?) so much as realistically imposing (she’s got a lot of muscle on her but isn’t fit-looking) but with a charming spunk to her (I just wrote fucking “spunk” too, Jesus do I fucking suck). Her paid spousal avenger gig is a great idea, too, which will no doubt afford many more stories to come. Plus, Stella’s use of bondage equipment for the purposes of beating up on wife-beaters is fucking kinkily genius.

Also like One for the Money, Littlefield has a great sense of place and a good ear for dialogue. Her take on southern Missouri is very specific and refreshingly sober while also not succumbing to the temptation to have every citizen be a white trash stereotype. The dialogue also finds a nice balance, imparting “southern-ness” without going all Faulknerian on your ass either.

The mystery plot in Sorry is also subtly handled as well. As with all mysteries, shit gets “big” in the end, the players proving to be bad big-time boys, but Littlefield wisely never makes the villains out to be like fucking ridiculously high-up (“this shit goes all the way to the governor!” kind of shit). Also, the plot never gets too complicated for the world that Littlefield has set up. It’s a mystery, yeah, but in a smart just-enough-of-a-mystery sort of way – no huge retarded twists or any of that kind of bullshit.

Obviously, I dug this book, but that’s not to say I don’t have some reservations. Shit does get violent – good and graphically so during the book’s climax – but Littlefield makes it clear she’s not trying to go full-on noir. At this point, this series is not ready to go really dark, for Stella to kill the wrong man or make the truly tough choices. This especially shines through at the end when a major character is dead and then proves to be alive a few pages later (think the amazing joke about Val Kilmer’s character at the end of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang).

Also, there’s this whole sexual tension thing going on between Stella and the sheriff, something that raises red flags for the Nerd. As I said, as a fan of One for the Money, I grew tired of the whole “Will she go for Ranger or the cop?” bullshit part of the series that wore on into lameness for me. As it is right now, Littlefield isn’t going too crazy with their budding romance, but I fear much more about that shit could get tiresome later on. But then, I know that that’s what a lot of fans of the bounty hunter series like and Evanovich is like a fucking billionaire so what the fuck do I know other than that I likes what I fucking likes?

But I’m talking like I can see into the fucking future or something. A Bad Day for Sorry is a good book, funny and exciting and I can practically guarantee it will find a readership. I would totally read another Hardesty novel, but I just hope that the series runs more towards the darker aspects of this world than toward the cuter ones.


Paul Brazill said...

It's a top review. The nerd is a well funny writer. Like the trailer BTW.

Anonymous said...

Sophie, I finally got around to checking for your book at Dayton area libraries. Only one has it and only 1 copy, but there are 3 holds on it at Washington Township-Centerville Public Library. Way to go!

Marjo (Bill & Judy's friend)

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Anonymous said...

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