My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Sunday, November 3

When She Was Good

When She Was Good is a most unusual novel by Laura Lippman,. Or maybe I should say, it contains a most unusual main character. Helen Lewis is a prostitute who becomes a madam and runs her escort service like a well-oiled machine, making sure her “girls” are protected from disease as well as customers, or “clients” as she likes to refer to them. And she extensively screens the men before accepting them as clients, most of whom are influential movers and shakers in the Baltimore and DC areas. She is almost entirely a self-made woman, never graduating from high school because her abusive father insisted she go to work instead of wasting her time in school. But she reads and reads, thinking if she can’t get a normal education she’ll get one on her own. When she was eighteen, dancing, both pole and lap, she was living with Billy, an addict and a loser, but it’s there that she meets Val Deluca, who takes her in, supposedly only temporarily. But he pimps her out and she works for him until he’s sent to prison for killing Martin, the young man he’d been grooming as his second in command. But since Helen (now renamed Heloise) has such good business acumen, she takes over the business and runs it better and more profitably than Val did. Helen, or Heloise, is a remarkable character in that she’s in a dirty business but she’s such a good and intelligent person who treats both her escorts and the clients with fairness and respect. Lippman is a sneaky good writer, nothing flamboyant about her style but she has her moments. Let me show just a few examples:

“Heloise feels as if she can pinpoint the exact location of her heart. It is like a pigeon caught in a chimney, flapping its wings, desperate to get out, blind in the darkness.”

“She really does look fine. If one didn’t know of Sophie’s former glory, she might even seem reasonably attractive. But the lusciousness is gone. She’s like a piece of fruit on its way to being overripe. There’s no visible decay, but you wouldn’t want to bite into her for fear that the sensation would be mushy and mealy.”

“They were a self-contained unit, together almost sixty years, not even particularly perturbed by the infrequency with which they saw their grown children. They were like two trees that had grown together, and they would probably topple together. “

Anyone who likes well-written thrillers should try some of Lippman’s Tess Monaghan series or any of her stand-alone novels.
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