Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sophie Jaff Debuts with Love is Red - Unforgettable Fascinating Romantic Suspense Bordered with Horror!

She's your first drink after the drought, your first bite after the famine. Hers are the first streaks, the first leaks of bold and brilliant color. You intend to savor every drop.

In the Beginning you did not hunt; you merely sought out and destroyed.
In the Beginning you were swift and did not linger. You took what you needed, you harvested the Vessel, and you were gone. But as the ages of time passed you began to love the colors humming in your veins and pumping through your heart. Each color brought you closer to life, gave you a deeper understanding of how it is lived, so different from the nothingness, the great absence.
You began to slow down
You began to enjoy.

Terror is the color of under the bed,
it is the color of bone marrow and
the color of chalk, it wails like sirens,
it hums like wasps, it thuds like an
MRI machine, it tastes of sweat, it
tastes of metal, it tastes of rising bile,
if feels like the scrape of cement
against skin, it thumps like a pounding

You will tell her more stories. Stories to make her eyes wide and her thighs tighten as she tries to draw backward. That's why it's safer when you tie them up You learned that long ago. It's for her own good. Otherwise she'll move too much, more than you like, and you'll have to stop her moving. Then she won't last too long. This has happened before. Bad girls don't get playtime...You expertly gag her with the soft red silken scarf you keep for just such an occasion. Once she can no longer scream, you hold out your blade for her to see...
As you prepare her for your true purpose, you call her the name you wanted to call her all evening. You lean over the softly call her Katherine...

And she is only a means to the Vessel.
Katherine, who woke you from your darkness.
Katherine, who calls you ever closer.
Katherine, your destiny.
Katherine, the perfect one.
Katherine, the only one.

Love is Red

By Sophie Jaff

I wish I could say that my choice of the first vampire actor, Bela Lugosi, is an informed choice of "what" you will meet in Jaff's Debut novel, Love is Red. But I admit I have no idea what type of creature is stalking the women of New York City. He's dubbed the "Sickle Man" based upon, I am sure you can guess, his weapon...

The most intriguing part about this monster is that he seems to "think" in colors and perhaps even truly "tastes" them. Like the example above, he senses emotions, gives them a color--even to the point of what they taste like--as if he has literally explored what he was eating or what was on his tongue, and defines it until he has an acceptable definition of what that color tastes like.

For this reader, I was fascinated as I was stopped whenever this occurred in the novel, prepared to analyze the paragraph and try to imagine how the chosen definition had come about. Some worked for me; some were incomprehensible but still intriguing...

Petulance is maroon, it crumbles like stale graham crackers,
it smells of carpets stained with apple juice, it sounds like the
tap of impatient fingernails, it feels like the scratch of pearls
across your teeth, it gives a twist and pinch of salt to the
lavender of insecurity...

And then there are the places throughout the novel where excerpts of an entirely different novel, The Maiden of Morwyn Castle, a gothic novel that takes readers far into the past--but with no explanation for its being there. Are characters in that book, now living in the present time in Love is Red? I was willing to leave myself open, trying to pick up clues of what was really happening! Got to admit I was digging deep to follow this thought-provoking story... What a treat!

"The best part of New York," he drawls, "is the
people watching."
"What are you doing there?"  He was watching
me change, and I'm wearing my shitty underwear.
Did I scratch myself? Adjust my bra?
"I thought it was obvious."
"I trust you enjoyed that?"
He paused in thought. Insult added to injury.
"Wasn't terrible." The sides of his lips turn up
ever so slightly.
"Aren't you going to apologize?"
"You should apologize."
"Why? I'm not sorry."
I won't go into the gory details of the slash murders of the women that came before Katherine...they are really minor diversions to what is coming...and it happens so, well, I must say deliciously...

Katherine gets conned into going to a party with a friend, who doesn't share early it is a costume party...and then leaves her alone most of the night as he seeks out the attention of the host. Finally, she decides to leave and heads for a room where she can change clothes...

I go into the host's room to change. The bed is a sea of clothes. The walls are a light shade of gray, soft in the glow of the bedside lamp. I move quickly. I don't want someone to walk it. I want to change and get out of here. Bra hooked, top pulled over and down, jean buttons done, shoes tied, and it is only when I look in the full-length mirror that I see the man sitting in the chair. He has been sitting there the whole time. I wheel around with a little scream...

Oh no, I'm not going to finish that scene, but I will tell you that it was wonderful how Katherine quietly turned the tables on him and got her own, shall I say, justice...LOL Loved this scene!

But that was not the end, because Katherine is presently getting to know and enjoy dating David. She finds out during a dinner date with him that a good friend of his, Sael, happens to be the guy who had watched her change clothes that night! They both pretend not to have met when they are brought together at dinner...but that, in itself, might have led to what happened...

Because Sael came after Katherine and their mutual attraction was no longer ignored...

Readers begin to watch as Katherine is caught between the two men, with lies all around...but...slowly begin to wonder...where is this leading because Katherine begins to have unexplained visions that haunt her--is there something wrong with me???

And then more supernatural actions are revealed as "You" remembers when "you" met your Ride...

He smelled like umber, the color of a day well done. He
sighed a faint scent of toothpaste and the deeper primal
wet of his mouth. He sighed and then he inhaled you in...
deeper, still deeper to the core of him of you--

You came in the night. You came in the dark, under the door, through the window. You came to him as he lay in bed, lay in the thin place between wakefulness and sleep. Why him? Why you?
Because. Because the wind blew, because the ancient cogs clicked into place, because the moon covered its face and the spray from the sea turned red and something stirred deep in the dust of the universe.

Got to tell you that although this book has a totally satisfying ending, you won't have all the answers. This is the first book in the Night Song Trilogy and you'll going to be looking toward the next book as soon as you finish this one!
What is it that is killing the women in New York? And what or who is Katherine that he calls his "vessel..."

Readers, this is unbelievable for a debut novel. Sophie Jaff writes brilliantly, with a touch of dark poetic language that is edgy, raw and compelling. I was caught from the very first and am still puzzling over where this trilogy might go--into the historical past or is it totally the supernatural realm...Jaff has me hooked in a suspense that won't stop until the full Night Song has been sung!


A native of South Africa, Sophie Jaff, is an alumna of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University and a fellow at the Dramatist Guild.

Sophie was the bookwriter/lyricist for the children's musical A Shelter in Our Car, written with Robert L. Wilson, which the New York Times called a "poignant, sensitively written and buoyant show." It was produced in 2007 at Symphony Space in New York, where it was seen by over 12,000 school children and subsequently published by Boosey & Hawkes.

Sophie's work has also been performed at The Library of Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, The Duplex, The Gershwin and Goodspeed Musicals. Her musical Erika's Wall, written with Dr. Kathleen Tagg, was given a full developmental production by the Music Theatre Company in Chicago, July 2010. Other works includes the cabaret Not That We're Bitter, written with Gaby Alter, song cycle Everything and written with Rob Hartmann, which won the Frederick Loewe Foundation Grant.

Sophie's first children's book The Adventures of Lula the Discontented Cow was published in 2005 (Human & Rousseau). She was the Dungeon Master (Head Writer and Creative Director) for the online Internet game Shadowtale where she wrote over 800,000 words of content.

Sophie is represented by literary agent Alexandra Machinist of ICM Partners and book-to-film agent Josie Freedman of ICM Partners.

You can like Sophie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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