Yes, you’re in the right place and I’m still sharing the prequel to my story, but as I had another post booked for Friday (a great new book) I felt I should share this book I read as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. It’s a completely different read to my own book, but I like to mix it up and I know you do too. And now…
Going Against Type by Sharon Black. A quirky romance that turns expectations on their heads
I am reviewing this novel as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team and I thank her and the author for providing me with a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Going Against Type is a romantic comedy that turns many conventions and expectations on their heads. The female protagonist, Charlotte, who goes by Charlie, is a sports journalist who’s always been mad about sport and wanted to be a footballer when she was younger. She still exercises regularly and loves watching and talking about sports more than anything. She’s just out of a traumatic relationship where she sacrificed her sense of self and personality for a man who never appreciated it, and she’s not keen on repeating the same mistake again. Derry, the male protagonist, is also a journalist, but he’s an expert on clothes, fashion, the arts and celebrities in general. They work for rival newspapers and somehow end up writing anonymous features where they take opposing points of views about everything. Their columns and their bickering on the page become popular, but what neither expects is the fact that opposites attract and despite their personal baggage and their different approaches to life they fall for each other, without knowing they are journalistic rivals.
The story is told in the third person, mostly from Charlie’s point of view. She is younger and less confident, still trying to establish herself as a serious sports journalist. Not only her interest in sports, but also her lack of self-awareness, dislike of fashion and shopping, and concentration in her career marks her as different to most female protagonist of what has been called chick-lit. She’s insecure, and her relationship with her friends is strong, but she’s also family-oriented, focused on her work and refuses to drop everything when a handsome man just happens to turn up. Derry is also not your usual eye-candy. Although in appearance he is a Don Juan who goes out with as many models and flashy women as he can, we later discover he’s also had bad experiences, and he’s mostly straight in his dealings with Charlie (apart from keeping from her his writing identity). Despite his reputation, if anything Derry seems a bit too good to be true (and reminded me of some comments about men in romantic novels written by women being a female fantasy rather than real men. Although that’s part of the appeal).
Not being a big sports fan in general, I was more interested in Derry’s line of work than in Charlie’s (apart from fashion, that is not my thing either), and I empathised with her doubts as to what they had in common. On the surface at least, it seems a case of opposites attract, although we do realise later in the novel that they share similar emotional experiences. Perhaps a more detailed account of their dates and time spent with each other would give the readers a better sense of their relationship and where the attraction between the two comes from. They are both likeable characters, the content of their columns —that is shared in the novel— is funny and witty, and some of their exchanges (on paper more than live) remind one of the good old classic comedies, like Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy’s films (although to my mind not quite as sharp). They do go to watch one of their movies at some point in the novel, that I thought it was a nice touch.
If you want a very light romantic read, set in gorgeous Dublin, with a background in the world of journalism, quick-witted and fun, with no erotica or daring sex scenes, I recommend you this novel. It’s perfect to pick up anybody’s spirit.
Here I leave you a preview if you want to have a look:
And more links:
Just in case you haven’t heard I published the prequel and it’s FREE, hopefully in most places by now . (If not, please report to Amazon adding the link to one of the other sites, as they need to be informed of links in each place it seems)
Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings by Olga Núñez Miret
How far would a writer go for a killer story? This is the question psychiatrist Mary Miller must answer to solve the first mystery/thriller of her career. You can get to know the main characters of this psychological thriller series for FREE and test your own acumen and intuition in this novella about the price of ambition.
Dr Mary Miller is a young psychiatrist suffering a crisis of vocation. Her friend Phil, a criminalist lawyer working in New York, invites her to visit him and consult on the case of a writer accused of a serious assault. His victim had been harassing him and accusing him of stealing his story, which he’d transformed into a best-selling book. The author denies the allegation and claims it was self-defence. When the victim dies, things get complicated. The threshold between truth and fiction becomes blurred and secrets and lies unfold.
Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings is the prequel to Escaping Psychiatry a volume collecting three stories where Mary and her psychiatric expertise are called to help in a variety of cases, from religious and race affairs, to the murder of a policeman, and in the last case she gets closer than ever to a serial killer.
If you enjoy this novella, don’t forget to check Mary’s further adventures. And there are more to come.
Here you can check a preview live:
But as I promised you to publish the whole of the story in my blog, here is Chapter 7. But don’t forget to download the story, to tell people about it, and if you like it, to review it too if you can. Ah, and next week, THE LAST CHAPTER!
Mary put the phone down, smiling. She was convinced that Phil would be wondering how she knew Lance had left, but she doubted he’d reach the right conclusion. It was true that he didn’t know the content of the conversation she’d had with him at the Hamptons, but that wasn’t all. Sometimes his set ideas and preconceptions blinded him to what should have been evident. But that was for the best. Mary had decided, in advance, to pretend to be surprised when he gave her the news, but in the end she hadn’t managed. It was lucky he hadn’t reached the right conclusion, as Mary didn’t want to risk Phil getting into any trouble over her own decisions and behaviour.
She knew Lance had left because… Yes, because Lance had phoned her. If Phil had phoned her on Tuesday, or early on Wednesday, it would have been a genuine surprise, but Lance had phoned her on Wednesday evening. She’d just come back from a long day at work and her phone had been ringing as she walked into her apartment. She’d grabbed the phone and said, “Hello!” convinced that she was too late.
“Hello, Mary? Do you remember me?”
The voice was familiar and it took her only a few seconds to remember where from. “La… Lance? But how did you get my number?”
“Where there’s a will there’s a way. It wasn’t very difficult but I don’t want to get anybody into trouble. After our conversation on Saturday, I wanted to catch up with you.”
“You might want to take a seat.”
Mary had obeyed, wondering what he was going to tell her.
“Thinking about it, it might not come as such a big surprise to you after our chat. I left Wright’s firm on Monday morning.”
“Well, when I left on Sunday—and, by the way, sorry for not saying goodbye, but I needed time to think—I kept churning and churning everything that had happened and everything we had talked about in my head. And by the time I got home I had decided I had to do something. I needed to make amends. I had to atone for my actions and for the consequences of such actions.”
“But it wasn’t your—”
“I know, I know. I remember what you told me. Still, I felt guilty. I knew I couldn’t work with Oliver Fenton. I couldn’t defend him. And as I kept thinking about it, I realised I couldn’t carry on working in Wright’s firm, either. Similar ethics and ambition had already resulted in the death of an innocent and tortured man. It scared me to think how much more damage I could do if I carried on with that kind of work. So I went there on Monday and I just told him I was leaving, and that I cared too much about ethics and morality to carry on working there, or something of the sort. And I walked out. I had expected to feel anxious or scared or worried, but no. I just felt free.”
“What are you going to do now?”
“That’s the best of all! As soon as I walked out of the building it hit me. I am a lawyer. I’d caused terrible harm because I only cared about fame and my own reputation, but the law would help me achieve what it should really be about, Justice. So I went to the District Attorney’s Office and offered my services. My only condition was that I wanted to take up the case against Fenton. If not as principal, at least to be a part of the team. They agreed that I could be in charge, even if unofficially, under supervision.”
“And that’s the other reason why I wanted to talk to you. I wanted to give you the news, but I also wanted to talk to you about the case. If you feel you’re in a position to talk about it. I’ll understand if you think you shouldn’t, as I know your standing in the case was quite unclear.”
“I’m not sure I will be of much help, but Fenton refused to be assessed, and other than my opinion about his mental health, there’s no documentation or a contract or a report that I have put my name to. I guess it would all be considered hearsay and would not stand up in court. Personally, I don’t think of him as a client, and although Percy Wright said he wanted to work with me in the future, nothing was formalised. And there was no exchange of money. Talking about such matters, how can you go from one side to the other? Isn’t there the issue of privileged information, et cetera?”
“Well, officially the DA will be the one running the show. And as Wright had insisted that he had overall responsibility, I am not listed in the documentation. It’s Percy Wright and team. Well, as you might have noticed, that’s the way he works. There might be issues later on, but we are hopeful that Fenton might plead guilty and that would save everybody a lot of time and effort.”
“In exchange for a reduced charge?”
“No… Perhaps a slightly reduced sentence.”
They were both quiet for a few seconds. Eventually Mary had to ask, “You said you wanted to talk to me about the case. As I told you, I’m not sure I’ll be of any help but ask and we’ll see.”
“I noticed from your reply to Mrs Roberts on Saturday, and from our later conversation, that you didn’t seem particularly sympathetic to Fenton’s version of events. From the little I know of you, I had the sense that although you might not like the guy personally, there was something else behind it.”
Mary had been wondering why she felt as she did about Fenton, too. “It’s nothing major, but we did have a brief conversation that at the time gave me pause, and later I’ve been replaying in my head.”
“When he heard about the assessment, he decided that I wanted to know about his childhood, and he gave me a quick version of his biography. OK, it was brief, so it’s possible he decided to leave it out, but considering he’d talked about it in such detail and it was so central to his book, he never mentioned having worked on a phone helpline.”
“Then I asked him if he had any hypothesis as to why Miles Green might have thought he’d based the book on him. I suggested that perhaps the details fitted him and he said that wasn’t his fault. And he added, ‘And I didn’t write about him. Or about…’ I had the feeling he stopped himself from saying something else, something incriminating. But I’m not sure what. Although I wonder—”
“I told Phil, when I finished reading the novel, that it didn’t ring true to me. Not sure why, but it doesn’t.”
Lance was quiet for what seemed like a long time.
“I told you I didn’t have anything specific or that could be used in a court of law,” Mary said.
“Oh, I think you’re wrong on that. Anything else?”
“I wasn’t very convinced about the timing. He was talking as if Green had been harassing him non-stop for a long time, but it hadn’t been that long. Ah, and he mentioned an injunction, but I’m sure nobody had talked about it. At least whilst I was present. The first time Percy and the team interrogated him, he mentioned the police and said they had told him to reveal his source, but nothing else. It’s probably nothing. I’m basing all that on impressions, a brief conversation with him that he was reluctant to engage in, and a couple of other interactions with you all.”
“You’re a gold mine. I’m in your debt.”
“I just hope justice is served.”
“I’ll be in touch. If you don’t mind.”
“Of course not. Good luck!”
Just in case you’ve missed any of the previous chapters, here are the links:
If you’re intrigued and you haven’t caught up with the three others stories I’ve published featuring Mary and Phil, I just wanted to remind you that Escaping Psychiatry is available for only $0.99 only until the end of February. Rather than give you the description, you can have a look a read and preview it directly from here:
And a few links:
Thanks so much for reading and you know… Like, share, comment and of course CLICK!