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'Life's a Bitch. So Am I.' Rachel Cord, P.I. Paperback – October 27, 2008

22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


 "Rachel Cord, P.I., is certainly one of the most memorable P.I.'s that I have ever encountered . . . . The fast pace things happen in this story often left me breathless and unable to put the book down." -- Cherie Fisher (Reader Views)

"R. E. Conary took a big risk with this novel. I was blown away by the surprising turn of events, and my first thought was: 'Nothing like this ever happens to Kinsey Millhone!' ...R. E. Conary plans on being anything but formulaic." --POD Book Reviews & More


"A great detective novel with sarcastic humor and gritty realism. The mystery is solid and complex, and Conary does an excellent job of presenting several different threads...and painstakingly weaving them together, so that the resolve at the end is deliciously satisfying. The book is loaded with well defined and interesting characters, and the writing is clean enough to stay out of the way... Conary does a wonderful job describing the details of Rachel's investigations which are always my favorite part of a detective novel."

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press (October 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1432731432
  • ISBN-13: 978-1432731434
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,812,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I think that each of us is unique and yet we are the distillation of everything that has come before. So it is with writing also, and mine owes as much to Aristophanes as it does to J. A. Jance; to Aesop as much as to Ray Bradbury; to the Grimm Brothers as to John D. MacDonald; to Shakespeare as to Raymond Chandler; to the nameless bards who sang of Cú Chulainn and Conaire Mor and the nameless scribes who later wrote down their words as to Homer who gave us Achilles and Odysseus, and Edmond Rostand and Miguel de Cervantes who immortalized Cyrano and Don Quixote, and Fritz Leiber who gave us Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.

Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, Fredric Brown, Phillip José Farmer, Ian Fleming, Zane Grey, J. R. R. Tolkien, A. A. Milne, James Thurber, Mark Twain, Robert W. Service, John Steinbeck, Hemingway, Ayn Rand, Solzhenitsyn, Checkov, Pasternak, John Donne, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Sappho, Ben Hecht, Emil Petaja, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Beatrix Potter, Ogden Nash, Heinlein, Clarke, Azimov, Ellison, Silverberg, Dick, Simak, Vonnegut, Verne, Dumas, Hugo, Chesterton, Conan Doyle, Thomas Jefferson, Tom Paine, Alice Walker, Elmore Leonard, the list goes on and on ad infinitum.

Every author, whether I've read his or her works or not, whether I liked his or her works or not; every writer, scribe who ever typed, penned, incised a word, a line, is as much a part of me, my DNA, as the Conarys, Dames, Longs, Fullers, Cousins, Chilton on back to that first amoeba that tweaked to life in the long forgotten primordial ooze.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robin L. McLaughlin on August 29, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a good first offering from a self-publishing author. Conary's writing is focused and on target for the most part. She does a wonderful job of providing vivid descriptions so the reader really sees through the character's eyes, yet is never too wordy. The novel starts out in a slightly hard-boiled style, but that is mostly left behind not too far into the book.

Conary does an excellent job of making a short book seem longer by following a couple cases in a pretty complex mystery. By complex I don't mean the reader has a difficult time figuring out most of the whodunit aspects, but being able to do so relatively early on in no way makes the journey any less enjoyable in following all the intertwining leads.

One thing that I really appreciated is Conary's one/two approach to revealing clues and information. At several points a key bit of information is revealed, but neither the author or Rachel (the PI) jump on it and draw red pointing arrows to it right away. Instead, the reader gets a chance to think, "aha, that's important!" and savor their cleverness in picking the tidbit out of the flow of the story. Then usually shortly after that Rachel picks up on it too. This style made the mystery a lot of fun as a reader and it also avoided that frustration with a PI ignoring something for half a book, making you think they're stupid.

Another thing that I appreciated was that Rachel wasn't taking things on solo. When she found a vital piece of information she immediately turned it over to the police. It seemed like a much more realistic representation of PI work and is a bit unusual in PI novels.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James A. Anderson on November 21, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this novel and would recommend to it others with some reservations. It contains some explicit sex and graphic violence which might be off-putting to some. If that offends you, I'd give this one a pass.

But it is a very good thriller-mystery in the Mickey Spillane fashion. Tight prose, fast-paced action and a good storyline. It's one of the first gay PI stories I've ever read. The female PI Rachel Cord is gay. Very different but interesting with some good insights into the problem of gay bashing in our society.

It's a fast read. I finished it in three days and the author has a satisfactory conclusion that wraps up all the loose ends. His sequel Rachel Cord, PI 'Still a Bitch': A Confidential Investigations Mystery would be worth checking out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anastasia McPherson on January 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
First, the boilerplate: I received this book from the author for the purposes of reading and review. R.E. Conary can write as I started this book to be polite and continued reading because I wanted to see where the story took me, the highest praise a reader can give.

Rachel Cord is a Private Investigator who has been handed two seemingly unrelated cases, one a missing persons case of a teenage girl who is in danger of being commercially sexually exploited and one a case of gay bashings surrounding a popular night club with a transsexual revue. It turns out that the cases are related, as in all good mysteries, but the twisty path by which their relationship is revealed is readable and interesting. Greed, the hunger for power and the corruption that inevitably ensues are evergreen and Conary uses these themes to good effect.

Rachel is a lesbian whose lover has recently left her in mysterious circumstances, she also has enormous breasts, Double H, that are an unfortunate character in themselves. This is a weakness as Rachel is a well-defined character and doesn't need a gimmick to define her. Her voice is clear and immediate. The secondary characters are also well-defined and memorable.

Life's a Bitch is intended as gritty noir and as such is explicit in terms of both sex and violence. There are two rapes, one of which happens off-stage and one that is so violent that it is disturbing to the reader. The aftermath of the rape is handled for the most part with sensitivity. A deus ex machina rescues the heroine from the predicament of the second rape and it is the lone plot weakness.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By H. Trauger on December 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was violent without a purpose. It didn't spend very much time on the mystery and I found the main character to be annoying and the mystery wasn't very well fleshed out. While there are so interesting side charaters I found the book constantly went off-track to far into her life and not enough time on the story. I'm a frequent mystery reader and I though the character was a little slow. If your looking for a good myatery - i'd look elsewhere. However, if you like stories that focus more on the character than the mystery - this might be your cup of tea.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Reads Thrillers on January 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an extremely well written and crafted novel and Conary knows how to paint his characters so that they are vivid and come to life. They are real and that draws you into the story. You are there. See the action. Feel the emotions. It is like you are a silent character in the story itself. I sometimes forgot that Rachel could not hear me!

Rachel is a well endowed tough PI that takes no quarters from anyone, male or female regardless of their persuasion. She has a solid foundation but yet holds herself responsible for any misfortune that occurs on what she considers her watch. She does have one kink in her armor; She thinks she is the Lone Ranger and doesn't realize that Tonto is not there.

This is a well crafted plot and if you have a sharp detective mind you may pick up a clue here or there. Maybe not! Recommended reading for those who want to be entertained with a suspenseful mystery.
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