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Torch Song: A Kickass Heroine, A Post-Apocalyptic World: Book One Of The Blackjack Trilogy [Kindle Edition]

Shelley Singer
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

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.

"Fast-paced action and a decisive, strong-minded heroine make this a good choice for fans of the postapocalyptic thrillers." -Library Journal


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.

" ...truly one of those books that the reader simply cannot set aside until completion. A story whose pace is akin to the speed of a rocket-launcher missile, Blackjack will grasp any reader by the throat and hang on till the end. What characters! What plotting! ... (Torch Song) will linger in the mind for long after the completion, with the question ringing: Could a near-future like this actually occur?" —Euro-Reviews

WHO WILL LIKE IT: Fans of THE HUNGER GAMES Trilogy, The Millennium Trilogy, and post-apocalyptic thrillers and dystopian fiction. Think LEGEND for adults, or a literary expansion of THE BOOK OF ELI.

"Shelley Singer does an excellent job of describing a bleak future of the US.... Shelley’s world is dark and gritty with complex characters and an intriguing theme." -- Night Owl Reviews

Editorial Reviews


Fast-paced action and a decisive, strong-minded heroine make this a good choice for fans of the postapocalypitic thrillers. --Library Journal

From the Author

Great to claim this book under my real name. I used my middle name, Lee, to distinguish Blackjack--the original title--from my mysteries, but regretted it. I love this book and want it listed with all the others. It's not a mystery in the traditional sense, but a post-apocalyptic near-future thriller. I'm working on the second and third in what is now to be the Blackjack Trilogy, but they don't have titles yet.

It took several years to get this first book written, to create the world and the people and to start moving them toward an inevitable war and the hope of reconstruction.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3395 KB
  • Print Length: 332 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: booksBnimble (February 14, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,607 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars apocalyptical thriller July 2, 2007
The year is 2066 and the earth is barely populated as a consequence of the biological and viral plagues as well as nukes nearly destroyed the planet. Terrorism got completely out of control and nations tried to throw out the undesirables of a jihad that was answered in kind by the western powers. The United States is desolate with shell points of civilization interspersed with fiefdoms, bandits, and despots.

Rica Marin is a mercenary because she and her grandmother need the money for vaccinations and boosters, so they don't catch a fatal disease lingering from the poison years. Right now her assignment is the country of Sierra; hired by Chief Graybie to investigate the Coleman's owners of the blackjack casino in Tahoe. She finds that the Colemans are better than most people she has had to investigate. They want to consolidate and make their power base larger in a peaceful manner. So people can feel safe and technology will grow in a controlled manner. The problem is Rica is working for the wrong side; the Colemans' enemies are the Scorsia who are mafia types and use mob methods to get what they want. Rica has the alloy the Colemans want but are suspicious of her and deal with the Scorsia patriarch so he doesn't get a chance to succeed in his grab for power.

This is quite a different apocalyptical thriller because it leaves the readers with hope. The human race wasn't totally destroyed and they have the numbers to build a base that is anchored in equally and justice for all instead fear instead of prejudice. Rica is a strong willed woman willing to do more work as long as they fall within her moral compass. The Colemans are benevolent rulers with high ideals who want to protect their country by assimilating smaller weaker neighbors. Lee Singer has written a fascinating and enthralling work that focuses on the characters to deliver a cautionary message.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Karen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Torch Song" takes us on a journey with mercenary Rica Marin, who has been commissioned to root out various evils in a post-apocalyptic future.

On the negative side, the pacing of this novel drags somewhat at times, and characterisation falls just short of real depth for some of the characters (especially the villains), which also impedes the romance aspect. I also ended up feeling as if this novel was the set-up for a sequel, which isn't something I appreciate.

On the positive side: In spite of the fact that Rica is hardly a "kickass" heroine, she is a very likeable protagonist. Also, quite a lot of the static nature/plot issues/less than stellar characterisation is balanced out by very vivid and solid writing from the author.

Does the good balance out the bad? For me it did. In a genre where readers really give more leeway than they should when it comes to quality, Singer has taken a lot of care, and it shows. If I could have added half a star, I would have.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Story May 13, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It takes place in the year 2066. Our world as we know it has been decimated by terrorists, foreign and home grown, followed up with chemical warfare that has most of the population dead or dying. The story is fascinating in that it covers the gamut -- love, brutality, and politics in a world that is just emerging from catastrophe. Frightenly real.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Set in 2066, the story of a fractured country and a mercenary who loves her Granny enough to do what she must to keep them both well and safe is a believable, post apocalyptic read.

The reasons for the current fragmented, almost tribal societal structures are unveiled as Rica uncovers the true nature of the characters around her and deals with the internal conflict between what she feels is right versus what is both expedient and safe.

We watch her perspective adjust and shift as time passes, people are killed or exposed as spies, and she's betrayed by her employer. It dawns on her the only way to keep Granny safe and protect her own fractured piece of what used to be the US, is to choose sides for an incipient war.

As in life, she doesn't have all the story and no one is telling the whole truth. So, she goes with the best solution available. It's also convenient that her choice keeps her in touch with the attractive, powerful, and manipulative Jo.

This is the first of a three book series. It sets the foundation for both Ricas' personal journey and the ultimate conflict around reestablishing a United, consolidated country that can defend against vague, international threats and remaining segmented and vulnerable. The potential plot twists, all based upon whether or not the characters will choose to repeat recent history-complete with all the requisite ideological groups-make the next book something worth waiting for.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mind-Blowing Ride! May 1, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
TORCH SONG is a mind-blowing ride that holds you in its grasp from start to finish. Singer creates a futuristic realm, both fascinating and frightening. Rica, the protagonist, takes the reader into this world, and this reader felt lucky to have her as a guide.
She is gritty, confident, and competent. She's a mercenary hired to sort things out among warring factions. And it's all about the meds. Meds that everyone wants and needs after plague and other disease and pestilence have lain waste to humanity.

Rica knows her way around, and, fortunately for her, she's a pretty good judge of character. She figures out whom to trust and whom to bust. Not only that, she sings! Sensual, torchy ballads that make listeners wistfully remember simpler times.

There's nonstop action and complex relationships. As the story draws to its close, conflicts get resolved, but new ones rear their heads. Rica's life is taking a turn on several levels, making the reader wonder what lies ahead for her. We'll all have to patiently wait for Book Two.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars suspenseful
I wish there was a dash more between Rica and Jo, but the amount also left more to the "suspense" of the events! Read more
Published 13 days ago by B. Agee
5.0 out of 5 stars suspenseful plot & likable characters!
This book was a win. A definitely believable bisexual/panaexual protagonist, and a book that calmly ignores heteronormativity. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ana Smith
2.0 out of 5 stars Had the potential for greatness, fell short.
I really liked the idea behind this story. In the not too distant future, war and disease have decreased the population, greatly and the United States has dissolved. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Marissa
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow and Rambling
I'm not saying this book is terrible all the way through, but only because I couldn't finish it. The first fifty pages were slowing and rambling, with hardly any exposition. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Astro 599
5.0 out of 5 stars Different, in a good way
I read so many books that after a while they all tend to blur together, but I suspect Torch Song will stick with me for a long time. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Homesteader
4.0 out of 5 stars great read
Surprisingly thought provoking political commentary in an absorbing story with some unexpected turns ...all this and a truly kickass heroine!
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it but probably not for everyone.
I really enjoyed this. Great protagonist, though she does do rather a bit of pining its almost entirely in her head. And the title was Torch song, I'd expect a degree of pining. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable beach read.
Storyline was good, but a bit choppy at times. I was hoping to learn a bit more about the heroine.
Published 8 months ago by Joseph F. Krupa
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Rica is an interesting character. The idea of a post-apocalypse world though has been used quite a few times, and this one doesn't seem like there was much effort put into it, at... Read more
Published 9 months ago by piptastic
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh
I really wanted to love this book, but sadly I can only muster lukewarm feelings. I was left wanting more action and drama in place of the slow plodding narrative. Read more
Published 9 months ago by kalleeco
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