No one writes about wounded female characters in the way Louise Ure does, and she tops herself in her latest crime novel, Liars Anonymous.
Jessie Dancing was just doing her job as a Roadside Assistance Operator in Phoenix when she answered a distress call from a vehicle equipped with Hands On Emergency. The driver told her he was fine, and he'd check on the other driver. But, she thinks she hears Darren Markson in a fight, and then killed. Unfortunately for Jessie, the man's wife insists he's in New Mexico, so the Tucson police want to speak to her.
She doesn't want to return to Tucson, but Jessie is forced to go there to deal with the crime she knows she heard. Tucson was once her home, but after a violent incident in her past, her mother disowned her, and she left her large family behind. Now, one overheard incident draws her closer to the criminal world of the border city, with its connections to gangs and illegal aliens trying to cross from Mexico.
Liars Anonymous gives readers a character that is sympathetic in the beginning but, grows more difficult to like as the story develops. Jessie Dancing may not always be likable, but we're compelled to follow her. Jessie's role in life has brought her to this point. She's thirty-two, a woman who grew up the oldest of seven children, but the outsider in the family. Rejected by her mother, she's spent her life trying to be a hero, the one who could make things right for her brothers, her friends, for unprotected children. It's obvious when she remembers, "I'd always stocked my vehicles with the kind of stuff that would get my brothers out of whatever minor scrape they'd gotten into growing up. Need a tow? Call Jessie. Run out of gas? Call Jessie. Lost the key to the toolshed? Call Jessie. It was an old habit that was hard to break."
Jessie Dancing's old habits might help other people, but this time, her attempts to be the hero might be her fatal flaw. She's an avenging angel, on her own private crusade. Heroes can't always save themselves, though, and, Jessie spirals out-of-control in her rage, while she attempts to set wrongs right. Once again, Louise Ure creates a needy character that grows on the reader. Jessie Dancing makes Ure's Liars Anonymous her most powerful novel yet.
Louise Ure's website is www.louiseure.com
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Liars Anonymous by Louise Ure. St. Martin's Minotaur, ©2009. ISBN 9780312375867 (hardcover), 288p.