Friday, December 26, 2008

Review- Edge of Darkness by Jove Belle

Edge of Darkness
by Jove Belle
May, 2008
Suspense/ Lesbian

Buy it Amazon, Bold Stroke Books

Diana Collins charges at life with an irreverent comment and a right hook, but even her hard-headed attitude may not be enough to protect her heart…or her life.

As a senior investigator for a high-end insurance company, Diana needs to find the person responsible for the theft of a rare sword. While Diana struggles to protect her burgeoning relationship with kindergarten teacher, Cami Michaelson, the investigation leads her into a bitter world of rage and revenge. Diana uncovers one damning piece of evidence after another that challenges everything she knows about right and wrong. She finds her hard-driving work ethic, which demands the thief be held accountable, at odds with the desire to protect her new friend, Ali Sandoval, who is caught in the center of the conflict. As she draws Diana deeper into a dark subculture of sex, power, and death, Ali must choose between vengeance and peace if she hopes to escape with her sanity intact.

I never would have known about author Jove Belle if a friend hadn’t mentioned her to me, but I’m so glad I’ve found her. Edge of Darkness is one of those books that really popped for me. Its edgy, dark suspenseful story line combined with a juicy love story made it one of the best reads in while for me. And I must admit, that cover totally grabbed me.

Diana is an investigator for an insurance company who’s been asked to do an interview because she’s a dyke and her bosses feel that the person they need to interview will be more open with her. There is a claim on a very valuable Katana sword that disappeared after the murder of its owner, so Diana and her mentor/friend, Braxton, who is an expert at interviewing, go to question the step-daughter of the murdered man. While Diana and Braxton search for the Katana, they find out that they might actually be in search of a serial killer, and get embroiled into a dark, twisted world.

While this is going on, Diana’s love life also picks up when she meets Cami, a kindergarten teacher, and finds herself falling in love again after a failed relationship and a string of one-night-stands.

There is absolutely nothing bad I can say about this book. I was just so impressed by all of it: the complex character development, the slow build up of a suspenseful investigation, and a realistically and honestly written love story, which all came together in a flawless, enthralling way for me. I really can’t say enough about how positively affected I was by the writing and story telling in this book.

The characters: Diana—is the main character and it’s through her eyes that this story is told. She’s a tough scrapper type who is not afraid to get into it with people to do the right thing. She’s also got a huge heart and takes her Irish Catholic upbringing, including being family oriented, very seriously. She’s still getting over a failed relationship and has been sticking to having one-night-stands even though she dreams of having the white picket fence and living in domestic bliss forever with someone someday. At the moment though, she’s mostly focusing on her career as an insurance investigator. She’s such a complex and interesting character whose mix of contradicting qualities really turned me on.

Cami- is Diana’s new love interest. What I really got off on in this story is how realistically the love story develops between Cami and Diana. Cami is a real sweetheart of a woman, who, like Diana, feels so attracted but also has all the usual doubts and insecurities that goes with falling in love and getting to know someone knew. The interactions between her and Diana came across as very authentic and it’s the first time for me read a lesbian love story that expressed how I imagine it would really be between two women.

I will also say on that front, that reading this book and trying to put together my thoughts for this review I finally realized why I enjoy reading f/f love. Based on this love story and how it developed, it’s the raw emotional communicating between the characters I get off on. Because both parties are women, the thoughts and feelings going on internally were openly expressed between these two women. It’s something I don’t get in a m/f romance, or at least not to this degree and it came across as extremely intimate.

Braxton- is Diana’s mentor at work and she is also a well written character. She a tough, straight forward, take no prisoners type of woman who’s extremely intelligent and a pro at interviewing and psychologically breaking down people to get info. She and Diana have this playful but respectful rapport between them, which I really liked. And even though she’s a straight, married woman, she flirts with Diana with lots of subtle sexual innuendo, which Diana doesn’t quite no how to take at times. I got the impression that she did have a thing for Diana in some way and it was interesting to me that Jove Belle kept what’s going on between them ambiguous because that felt more real to me.

Ali- is the serial killer. I can say that because it’s revealed right in the beginning. She’s a refreshingly written damaged character and I felt so much for her. She was kidnapped and abused for most of her youth by a tyrant of a man and basically kept prisoner until she managed to escape one day. Consequently, she is trying to save other helpless women by trying to rid the world of abusing men. What I loved about the way Jove Belle wrote her is that even though she’s become this cold blooded killer, when Diana shows her real love and compassion, that part of her that she’s forgotten that needs to be loved and accepted makes her feel more vulnerable than she was as a kidnapped victim because she actually opens up and reaches out for the first time. It was heartbreaking.

Other than those main characters, I felt the interactions between the office men and Diana were very interesting as well. The men joke about her being a lesbian and show their ignorance and sexism on a regular basis to the degree that it borders on sexual harassment, and yet, Diana’s sarcastic and humorous reactions to it, easily deflecting it back to them, and the fact that the men actually respect her and Braxton, didn’t turn all of that into a male bashing fest, which it could have easily happened to add more unnecessary tension or drama to the story and I liked that.

The suspense plot is also very well written. We know who the killer is straight away, but like a Columbo story, it’s the detailed and logical way in which Diana goes about investigating and the conclusions she comes to along the way, plus the unpredictable reactions of Ali, that kept the interest up in this story.

Reading Edge of Darkness was a thrilling, fascinating way to spend a couple of hours. It’s a book that really has me wishing that having a lesbian as a main character wouldn’t be cause for lack of interest or automatic dismissal of reading an author, because this book is so worth reading. I can’t wait to read Jove Belle’s other books, if only on the level that she’s such a good story teller.

Sex rating: Wet panties. f/f. This is not an erotic romance, but it’s very sensually written. So no real graphic language or situations, but just enough description to get worked up.

Grade: A


kirsten saell said...

Love that cover! We should post it in the sidebar.

And I really am going to have to put aside my reluctance to order dead tree books online and get this one. I've read some of Jove Belle's stuff on her website and DAMN. Just wish she was available in ebook format...

MB (Leah) said...

I love that cover too! Can't look at it enough. Very hawt and bold.

I wish this one would have been in ebook also. Her other book is. I'm very curious to read Split the Aces although the story line is not suspense, which I think was done really well in this book.

Only issue I have is that the ebook version is more expensive than the dead tree at Amazon. WTH?

I don't know much about Bold Strokes Books, but they are kind of expensive.

kirsten saell said...

Did you read that post over at Dear Author about the "ebook tax"? Where some NY pubs want $7.99 for the mmp and $14 for the freaking ebook???!!! And you know that ebook is gonna be DRMed out the wazoo, so you can't move it from one device to another, or make a back up. I can't tell you how much that bothers me--especially when I have to wonder if the author is making the same 6-8% on that ebook as she is on the paperback. Can you imagine the profits publishers stand to make in such a lopsided paradigm?

And you know, if I remember right, Samhain makes more per copy profit off my $4.50 ebook (while still paying me 30-40% royalty) than it will off my soon-to-be-released $12 trade paperback.

All right, rant over. I want her books, but I'm just not in a position this year to pay $11.95 for an ebook, no matter how much I want it. Even if it's available in SONY, which it is, which just makes the whole thing that much more frustrating. I know there are people out there who can buy a book at that price and make it a one time thing, but I know if I set the precedent, I'll end up buying every 10, 12, 14 dollar ebook I want from the Sony Store and to hell with feeding the kids.


I wish publishers would wake up. You'd think a GLBT pub would be more forward-thinking in business as well as sociopolitical stuff, but I guess they're taking their cues from the big and the clueless...

Okay, rant really over this time. LOL

MB (Leah) said...

Kirsten, you're preaching to the choir here.

I agree totally. I won't buy an ebook that costs more than a dead tree book.

I have paid $12-$16 for a trade paperback if I really want it because many authors I like aren't published in MMP.

But I won't pay that kind of money for an ebook.

I don't know why Bold Strokes Books can't offer an ebook version of a book for a normal ebook price? And from them this book was $15.95, when I got it at Amazon for $10.85.

I get that Bold Strokes is a very small publisher due to it being a GBLT, but still, not gonna get their books more mainstream if it's so expensive.

Although I prefer to read books in ebook format, but I will buy her other book in dead tree even though it's only slighly cheaper than ebook because at least I can share it or sell it again.