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Death, drugs and sheetrock

Grammatical flaws and bizarre typos can't hide compelling plot.

September 18, 2011|By Lyda Truick

Do you ever feel like you are falling out of an airplane and you’re not really sure if the parachute is going to deploy? Or perhaps you’ve been in a situation that has you cringing in anticipation of the outcome? That feeling of exhilaration is what you will experience when reading this book. “Sheetrock Angel” is thrilling, discombobulating and anxiety striking. But you won’t be able to put it down.

Audrey’s just left her first husband for the second time. Licking her fresh metaphoric wounds, she buys a disastrous “fixer-upper” to keep her busy while she gets back on her feet. It isn’t long before a rugged-yet-handsome neighbor ambles up and offers to help her with the dry wall, and within weeks (two or so chapters), Audrey is entrenched in a world of drugs, shady art dealings and unscrupulous peers.

To top it off, Audrey is now beginning to manifest signs of the schizophrenia that plagued her mother and damaged her childhood in Glendale.

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As Audrey attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding her dry-walling neighbor’s death, more and more clues link to the people she cares about most, to the point where she’s not even sure she can trust her best friend. The reader is pulled into a cyclone of paranoia, feeling every bit as frantic and uneasy as Audrey, and feels a driving need to keep reading just to prove the main character has some sanity.

Seemingly a self-published title, the book does have some glaring grammatical flaws and some bizarre typos that make you wonder if the author was concealing the names of real, living people.

The author really has a good grasp of weaving past with present, and the story flows seamlessly from Audrey’s memories of childhood and her present state of mind. These memories intertwine with her subconscious need to help people, and give her a better understanding of herself.

The story offers a quintessential Los Angeles experience, from the Santa Monica Pier to the Angeles Crest Highway. Readers native to L.A. will love the local imagery and will be anything but disappointed with the accompanying plot. Be prepared for a mental roller coaster ride.

LYDA TRUICK has a master’s degree in library and information science and can be reached at lydacaine@email.com.

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