Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dear Daughter - Chick Lit Murder Mystery--New for Me--Great for Readers! Check out Elizabeth Little's Debut!

CNN Breaking News
A California judge has overturned
the first-degree murder conviction
of Jane Jenkins as part of an ongoing
investigation into the
mismanagement of evidence in the
Los Angeles County Crime Lab
from 2001 to 2005...

As soon as they processed my release, Noah and I hit the ground running. A change of clothes. A wig. An inconspicuous sedan. We doubled back once, twice, then drove south when we were headed east. In San Francisco we had a girl who looked like me board a plane to Hawaii.
Oh, I thought I was so clever.
But you probably already know that I'm not.
I mean, come on, you didn't really think I was just going to disappear, did you? That I would skulk off and live in the shadows? That maybe I would find a distant island, a plastic surgeon, a white ceramic half mask and a Punjab lasso? Get real.
But I never meant for it to come to this. There's attention and then there's attention, and sure, the latter kind gets you fame and money and free designer shoes, but I'm not Lindsay Lohan. I understand the concept of declining marginal returns. It was the not knowing--that's what I couldn't stand. That's why I'm here.
...Now imagine that instead of a gold medal you were given a murder conviction, and you'll have some sense of how it is for me.
...Then came the trial, which didn't have anything to do with what I knew but rather  withwith what other people had decided I knew, ande soon enough I lost the ability to tell the difference between them. And now I'm stuck with a mess of a memory, a hodgepodge of angry testimony, sanctimonious magazine profiles, made-for-TV movies--less linear narrative than True Hollywood Story highlight reel. I don't know what's mine anymore...The uncertainty ate at me, maggots mashing the already-decaying corpse of my brain...

Dear Daughter
By Elizabeth Little

When you get a reputation, like, for instance, Lindsay Lohan has, you have a hard job ahead of you--you'll never be anything but what everybody claims you are, no matter how much you have changed or done since you gained that bad reputation. Jane Jenkins was in that situation and apparently destined to keep it-- the ending therefore left a bad taste in my mouth--or else an anticipatory craving for a sequel... In any event, other than the ending, I loved this book!

Jane Jenkins had spent the last ten years in jail, only getting out because of the discovery of mismanagement of evidence...  Oh, yes, the evidence was there, since Jane had been found over the body covered with her mother's blood... But, because of her public reputation, that evidence was read incorrectly by everyone, other than Jane's lawyer...

And now, even though she had been released, nobody was willing to accept that she had not killed her mother, especially one blogger who wrote under the TMZ Staff signature...
Talk about a Stalker! This one was so full of hatred that he had to be more than writing for this group...

The major thing that Jane remembered about the murder scene was that her mother had written Jane on the floor in blood. Obviously it was taken as her mother's final statement and greatly influenced all the individuals evaluating her guilt.

Jane had to acknowledge that her mother had never been close, but she couldn't figure out why she would convict  her because certainly she had known who had killed her. Jane knew it had been a man--she had been in her mother's closet planning on "borrowing" some of her latest purchases, when she had heart them quarrel. But she had only been able to catch a few words...

Now she and Noah, her lawyer, hoped to use them to try to solve the murder... But then, Jane had totally ignored the elaborate plans Noah had created for her to wind up in Wisconsin... She tried to let Noah realize that it was time to split up...she knew she would have to do it on her own...on her way, she had even stolen a truck to get to her final destination.
Ardelle, for those who haven't had the pleasure of
making its acquaintance, is nestled deep in the
Black Hill, thirty or so miles from Mt. Rushmore...

As we Ardellians know, our stunningly beautiful hometown was once more than a gristly clutch of prospectors, founded in 1885 by J. Tesmond Percey's Mining and Manufacturing Company, and named, along with nearly sister-city Adeline, for Percy's twin daughters. The population swelled in 1888 after Percy's claim yielded three veins of gold, and by the 1890s Ardelle was a respectably sized town, with one church and three bars...

Adeline had been one of the words she had heard the night her mother was killed. Research had been exhausting until they realized that it was a small town, which no longer even existed... Whether or not the story of the towns is true for some place in South Dakota, the one told in the book was quite interesting... It seemed that the two towns were built to look like each other and some of the main families had the exact house built in each town... So, depending upon what was now being mined--after gold they went on to other minerals in the grounds-they would move back and forth between the towns until, finally, it was all gone and Ardelle was retained as the community, while the other town, was left to deteriorate... But it wasn't totally abandoned...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
English: Paris Hilton promoting her cell-phone...Everyone always asks what my first thought was, when I found her, but it wasn't like that. I didn't have any thoughts at all until much later. I was mixed up before I even opened my eyes, still reeling from the previous night's dire combination of blended whiskey, prescription painkillers, and agonizingly fatuous conversation....Then before I realized what I was doing, I was down on the floor with my face next to what was left of hers, shouting in one bloodied ear while scooping up tissue and viscera and bone, trying to Spackle her her over like she was a bucket and I was Dear Liza. Of course, by that point it wasn't of any use...
Jane Jenkins had become well known as she had traveled in all the right circles, bought the righclothes, did the right designer drugs and drink...and had the smart mouth and wit to stand out in a crowd... She was like a Paris Hilton who gained notoriety through family connections...

Now, though, she wanted to be as much undercover as she could possibly be. Moving to change her appearance to what you might call "the librarian type," She did well in changing her appearance, but holding back her temper and her smart-ass comments was a major problem for her--and fun for readers to watch her attempt!

Actually she did quite well and was soon in a bed and breakfast in South Dakota. When she had made her reservations, the woman had talked her into coming during a week of festival, so when she arrived a day early, Cora quickly adjusted and invited her to dinner with family and some friends. Only later did she determine who it was that she really met that night! And I'm sure not going to tell!

To bring in a little romantic tension, of course, there was a sheriff who was wanting to know more about this woman who had maneuvered quickly to become part of the inner circle--which of course had only been made possible by Cora's constant hospitality and attempts to promote "her" town to others...

As Jane began to find out things, especially when she discovered this was her mother's home town, and "everybody" had known Tessa! In fact, she did  many things that Jane had been constantly criticized for... But Jane had never robbed a bank--everybody felt Tessa had!

I was almost ready to add this to my top-ten favorite books for the year, but just couldn't deal with it ending as it does. Still if a sequel comes along, I'll be adding both probably. This book is not out until August, so you'll need to be on the lookout if interested. And I think you should be. It's the best I've read where all the entertainment business is daily fodder and bling and designer clothes, shoes...and whatever...together with the "mouth" that can be found with most teens and young adults... LOL

But of course the mystery is what I found as drawing me in tighter and tighter...because, you see, there are more things to be discovered than who killed her mother! Great reader-writer connection,.. The author's portrayal of Jane is "right-on" in dialogue and actions, as if coming from the hundreds of talk shows telling the world about celebrity status ad nauseam... at least for me... LOL The complexity of the mystery, however, seemed over-the-top for a debut author. Kudos! Overall her writing is sharp, humorous, tight and...just fun to read and enjoy! I loved it!


Elizabeth Little was born and raised in St. Louis and graduated from Harvard University. Her work has appeared in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications, and she has appeared on All Things Considered, The World, and Here and Now. She has written two works of non-fiction: Biting the Wax Tadpole: Confessions of a Language Fanatic, published by Melville House in 2007; and Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America's Languages, published by Bloomsbury in 2012. Dear Daughter, her debut novel, will be published August 2014 by Viking (US) and Harvill Secker (UK). Elizabeth lives in Los Angeles with her family.

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