|Dirty Red by Tarryn Fisher|
December 21, 2012
Source: Personal e-book
Genre: New Adult/Adult Contemporary
Contains Crude language, sexual situations
You thought you could take him from me, but you lost. Now, that he's mine I'll do anything to keep him. Do you doubt me? I have everything that was supposed to be yours. In case you were wondering; he doesn't ever think about you anymore. I won't let him go....ever.
Leah Smith finally has everything she has ever wanted. Except she doesn't. Her marriage feels more like a loan than a lifelong commitment, and the image she has worked so hard to build is fraying before her eyes. With a new role and a past full of secrets, Leah must decide how far she is willing to go to keep what she has stolen.
Find my review of The Opportunist by clicking this link.
Honestly, I was very tentative getting back into this crazy world that Tarryn Fisher created. You can see from my review of The Opportunist that it was a semi-traumatic experience. It was like watching a train wreck, and in spite of not really liking any of the characters all that much, I couldn't take my eyes off of the chaos that exploded before me. So those were my feelings going into Dirty Red.
Ms. Fisher did a great job alternating back and forth between past and present. This isn't always done well in novels, and the task can be tricky. But I appreciated how each present chapter led into each past chapter, assisting the continuity and build-up of the story. The flow and pacing of the novel was good, though I did find myself really wanting to hurry up and get to the end - whether that was because I was getting bored with Leah's internal issues mid-novel or because I was just anxious to see how it all turned out, I'm not sure. Regardless, I had a difficult time putting this novel down. This did not pull at my emotions the way The Opportunist did, but really, that's okay with me since I was such a mess after the first book.
This novel is centered around Leah (Dirty Red), and is from her POV, and gives us the spectrum of who Leah is, how she was raised, what factors may have attributed to her personality and issues, her faults and nature, etc. I had a smidge of empathy for Leah from The Opportunist. I don't know if Dirty Red was supposed to evoke further empathy by painting more of the picture of who Leah is, particularly from her perspective, but by the end I still only had a smidge of empathy for her. Did I understand her better? Yes. Did she have a lousy upbringing? Definitely (but then, so do many people and they don't go Leah's route). Ms. Fisher created a multi-dimensional character in Leah, showing her many faults, but also showing her attempts at humanity once in a while, which I was happy to see. But this wasn't enough for me to actually like her. She was such an expert liar and manipulator, and admittedly did not want to analyze herself. She refused to be the truth and see the truth. Leah never took responsibility for herself, and that in itself drove me absolutely crazy. She blamed everyone but herself, and took people down with her. Nope, sorry Leah, I just can't support you.
But the beauty of Ms. Fisher's characters is that they all have internal ugliness and imperfection, some more than others, particularly her main characters. She doesn't shy away from the darker side of who people are and what lengths they will go to for what they want. Looking at Leah, Caleb, and Olivia, I still don't necessarily love them, but I am fascinated by the mess of who they are, and I really am rooting for them to become better people and learn from their mistakes (one can hope). I will say that by the end of Dirty Red I liked Caleb more than before, and even Olivia a little more (though we don't see much of her). Noah and Sam were the only genuinely likeable characters in the novel.
I knew to expect something at the end of the novel, considering there's still one more book to come. I tried to predict it, and I can honestly say, I did not see that one coming. I give props to Ms. Fisher for the element of surprise. I don't know what to anticipate in THIEF, the next book, which is from Caleb's POV. It makes me very nervous and excited and I expect Ms. Fisher may take us on the wildest ride yet. Well done, Ms. Fisher!