Torch Song

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Torch Song

The Blackjack Trilogy, #1

Rica has been hired by a local government official to find out whether a local casino owner is trying to build an army that will eventually overthrow the government. Shelley Singer does an excellent job of describing a bleak future of the US, where the states have now been broken up into large territories that are run more like countries. Shelley’s world is dark and gritty with complex characters and an intriguing theme.

As I read I came across an issue for me. It’s that the author gets so lost in her sad song that she forgot about the other components of the story. I wanted an action packed mystery thriller, but I mostly got a limp mystery held together with interesting characters. The last few chapters build up the tension to save it from being a complete snooze fest, but just barely.

I would not describe Rica as “kick ass” as the summary describes. She spends about half her time either pining over her ex-lover or lusting after her new boss. When she remembers that she has a job to uncover her boss’s secrets, Rica is resourceful, confident, and competent. She doesn't always win every fight she is in, but you never feel as though she is a damsel in distress.

This book is the first in a trilogy. Hopefully the author picks up the pacing in the sequels as she has the characters and atmosphere down perfectly.

Book Blurb for Torch Song

Fans of Lisbeth Salander of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games will love Rica Marin, a new kickass, gunslinging heroine.


Rica Marin’s a mercenary—a hired gun, soldier, and spy who answers only to whoever can keep her in the meds she and her only living relative need to survive the plagues that scourge the earth after biological warfare’s wiped out pretty much everything.

It’s a strange world that’s left—composed of tiny city-states like Redwood, Sierra, and Rocky—run with a variety of futuristic machines and broken-down ones. Fancy new cars float as well as roll, but the Internet’s now so glitchy you can't even blog properly—newspapers have come back! So many machines are in disrepair that a fixer in this world isn't someone who rigs elections or cleans up after murders—it’s a person who can repair both an elevator and an ancient toilet. But roving bands of bandits, godders, causies, breeders, khakis, and toxies threaten to destroy what’s just been fixed.

Anywhere there are people—however few—there’ll be power plays, and Rica’s current job at the Blackjack Casino is to run interference between the warring clans of Tahoe, in tiny Sierra. But then the city-state of Rocky gets ambitious. And that means war.

Night Owl Reviews Aug, 2014 3.00