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Also Known As Syzygy: (AKA Investigations series, Book 3) Kindle Edition
About the Author
- ASIN : B00B3QTV3C
- Publisher : Lesbian Literati Press; 3rd edition (June 27, 2013)
- Publication date : June 27, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 3240 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 335 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #346,679 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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I enjoy a good yarn as much as the next person, but I really read for character. Despite the high quality of writing and the interesting stories, it's the characters that really stood out to me in the first book, Armchair Detective and Book 2, Also Known As DNA. Also, the first person voice of those books, which elsewhere I called a blend of Stephanie Plum and Raymond Chandler, was perfectly suited to the character, Jobeth, and to the story. So, I was a little leery when I learned the next book in the series, AKA Syzygy shifted POV to three new characters. In Syzygy, we do get a fair amount of Ginger, somewhat less of Phoebe, and only a soupçon of Jobeth and Izzy, characters from the earlier two books. I particularly missed the latter two, but, turns out, there's a trade-off: In place of the thoroughly engaging people from books one and two, we get some terrific new characters. In addition, Baeli proves every bit as adept writing from third person POV as from first.
There are two things I especially like about the new characters, Ponzi, Kenda and Anna: their strength amid adversity and their loyalty to each other. Ponzi suspects her husband, Garrison, of infidelity, but what she discovers is far worse. Though devastated, she quickly finds the strength to do whatever she must to stop his horrifying behavior. Her best friend, Kenda, agrees, without hesitation, to help her, no matter the danger to herself. They also enlist the aid of Garrison`s former secretary, Anna, who is also aware of Garrison's criminal activities.
Well, three things, I guess. The third, maybe interpretation on my part, is the characters' need to bring about Garrison's downfall themselves, Ponzi as a sort of catharsis, helping her begin to heal, Kenda to protect Ponzi, maybe even to punish Garrison, and Anna to atone for allowing him to continue his crimes due to her failure to report them.
Baeli introduces a second evildoer who is every bit as repugnant as Garrison, and brings the two together, vultures of a feather, so to speak. Ponzi and Kenda catch the two predators in flagrante delicto and conceive a clever plan to trap them. While the second miscreant, Payne, isn't absolutely essential to the story, he does add depth, and subtly reinforces the idea that such predators are far more common than we want to admit.
In addition to the three friends, and the two malefactors, other characters add complexity to the novel. The blossoming relationship between Anna and uniformed cop Chloe is a nice secondary plot thread, and the fact that Chloe is teamed with Ginger in an investigation involving Sexual Deviant Number Two seems to bring things full circle, as the two criminals are completely surrounded by a cordon of powerful women.
Baeli imbues her characters with considerable depth. We come to know them well, and, as a result, we care about them and about what happens to them. One of the highlights of Baeli's writing is the avoidance of that writer's bête noire, telling instead of showing, and that's particularly true of her characterizations. We learn about the characters through their actions and through dialog. That showing, not telling, is what makes us feel we're "in" the story, not an outside observer.
If I've devoted considerably more time to the events of the story than I normally do, it's because of their importance, not just in the novel, but in our everyday lives. Men such as Garrison and Payne do exist, but, as the novel shows, women, alone, but, especially together, can not only stand up to them but also exact retribution.
It would be easy for a writer to become so incensed by the prevalence in the real world of the kind of acts depicted fictionally here that her fury detracts from the story. I'm impressed by Baeli's even-handed treatment of the crimes in her narrative. It's the characters who show their outrage, not the author, so that indignation is never allowed to get in the way of a most compelling and enjoyable story.
In a review of Book 1 of the AKA Investigations series, I mentioned several specific scenes, That I can recall such specifics after almost two years is a credit to the author. There are many standout scenes in Syzygy, too. I loved the scene where Ginger first interrogates Payne, pointing out inconsistencies in his story with scarcely concealed sarcasm; he's so totally clueless and self-absorbed that he doesn't even realize he's waaayyy out of his depth with the woman detective. A scene in the woods with Garrison and Ginger skillfully shows us another side of Garrison's malevolence and misogyny. Another great scene, maybe my favorite, is the final one with Ponzi and Kenda, where Baeli (through Kenda) shows considerable insight about Ponzi's needs and emotional state.
For those who care about such things, yeah, there's some sex. The scenes are well-written and in no way salacious. There`s no greater deal-breaker for me than gratuitous sex and porn-speak in a novel, and there`s none of that here. Instead, the few acts of love-making are a natural outgrowth of the narrative; the final one is, in fact, essential for closure. The scenes are, however, undeniably erotic, which is particularly impressive given their briefness.
Anyone who's read more than a couple of my reviews is probably aware of how I feel about gaffes in what Janet Burroway (Writing Fiction) calls the mechanical aspect of writing: grammar, spelling, and punctuation. To her list, I would add usage. To me, failing to learn one's craft shows laziness and, worse, a lack of respect for the reader. There are, however, no issues of that sort where Jae Baeli's writing is concerned.
It's rare to these days to find a writer whose prose style is technically so nearly perfect, but who's also a helluva good story-teller. (If you really think about it, even the wildly popular JK Rowling is a terrific storyteller, but she's really pretty "meh" as a writer.) Some time ago, I wrote of AndI Marquette that I doubted if she were even capable of writing poorly. I would also apply the same comment to Baeli.
In short, Also Known as Syzygy is a well-written, nicely plotted, entertaining and thought-provoking novel, capable of eliciting both righteous anger and considerable pleasure. I strongly encourage you to read it.
Honestly, I got lost in all the characters and their meandering, intertwined stories. And if I had known the intrigue was going to disappear so the romantic interludes wouldn't have to fight for top billing, I would have just passed completely. Not that I'm against lesbian sex, but it was billed as a mystery, not a romance novel.