Life's a Bitch. So am I.
I stared into the dark. Far-off lights reflected, shimmered and danced on the roiling water. The river washed everything downstream while the lights sparkled in one place. It was all illusion. Somewhere, deep below, hidden within the weeds and muck, buried, lurked other things. Things that wouldn't, couldn't, be washed away. Unseen. Unknown. Waiting. Life had moved on, but, like the lights on the water, I was stuck in one place. And I dread the horrid things buried within.
Hard-boiled? or only poached in Tabasco? Either way, private detective Rachel Cord pursues multiple threads seeking a runaway teen and why gay performers are being beaten at Miss Kitty's Kathouse Kabaret; threads that twist and bind Rachel within a tight cord of lost love, child pornography, rape, murder, and near insanity.
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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.
In Life’s a Bitch. So am I Rachel has been hired to track down a missing teenager and investigate a series of assaults in the vicinity of a gay nightclub. She also works periodically on a personal case – the disappearance of her lover Karen, who up and left without explaining why several months previously. This third mystery keeps to the background and promises to play out in future novels, while the first two cases quickly dovetail into a tangled web of pornography, underage sex trade, and shady real estate deals. Readers should be prepared for graphic sexual violence and a shocking attack on the main character.
I have to say, the author, 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!” However, the utter predictability and formulaic nature of Sue Grafton’s novels are why I gave up on them before she got halfway through the alphabet. After reading Life’s a Bitch. So am I. I can say with certainty that R.E. Conary plans on being anything but formulaic. I could not have predicted in advance where she would take this book, and I have no idea where she will take Rachel Cord in the future. In my mind, that makes R.E. Conary an author to watch!
"one of the most memorable P.I.’s that I have ever encountered"
I have read many, many detective novels over the years and some are really good, but few have such well-developed characters as this one. The story was very well written, with lots of great detail and some huge surprises! It had me sitting on the edge of my seat to the very end.
Rachel Cord, P.I., is certainly one of the most memorable P.I.’s that I have ever encountered in a story. She has strong opinions, is surprisingly sarcastic, can be very funny and vulnerable and is completely frustrated when her oversized breasts capture the complete attention of people she is trying to question. She is very tough in her detective work, but shows a much softer side in her personal life. Throughout the story, she is still trying to come to terms with her live-in girlfriend leaving without a word several months before.
There are several storylines going on during Rachel’s investigations in “Life’s a Bitch. So am I.” The author does an excellent job of tying them all together. The story starts with a missing young girl and a series of beatings at a gay night club. The hunt leads Rachel to other brutal crimes, some real shockers and a very satisfying conclusion. The fast pace things happen in this story often left me breathless and unable to put the book down.