In music, I have eclectic tastes. Just check out my iPod where Nine Inch Nails share space with Shania Twain, Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club, Vampire Weekend, and a bunch of one-offs like Mungo Jerry (In the Summertime), Eric Clapton (Autumn Leaves), and Smoke Fairies (Strange Moon Rising). So why am I so picky about my reading? A die-hard SF consumer (no black hole too deep), I sweep on by past anything that smacks of the suburban, contemporary, or frankly, wimminy. Well, I just learned my lesson, and via an indie author, at that.
Cathryn Grant’s Demise of the Soccer Moms had been flagged on twitter for a short while, discussed by writer blog-buddies, and finally let loose as a kindle download just a few weeks ago. I bought it, more out of a sense of comradeship than anything else. After all, I don’t play soccer (or football, for that matter), and over here we have Mums, not Moms, so what common interest could this possibly tap?
Let me tell you what that was. Demise of the Soccer Moms has an intricate and tightly written plot centred on three main characters; women whose daughters play for the school soccer team. Each of them has baggage that underpins their actions so that, bizarre and irrational as they increasingly become, there is no point reached of inconsistent absurdity. They do what they do because they are what they are.
I wanted to slap them. To tell them to wake up and join the real world. To stop fawning over their ridiculous obsessions. To be sensible, for goodness sake! But I never wanted to put the book down because they were unbelievable. I am a psychologist; believe me, they are believable. Although possibly not in Sussex where the concealed hand gun would more likely be a large jar of face cream.
If I have a criticism, it is that the voices of the three women are, at times, a little too similar so that I sometimes became slightly disoriented. That said, the use of internal dialogue is very effective in exposing the mental machinations of characters whose heads are full of the complex and unspoken issues that drive them. Their ironic loneliness in the context of a desperate need for connectedness is starkly drawn by this technique so that, infuriated or not, I felt sorry for all of them in the end.
Most telling is that I would like a sequel.
Cathryn writes suburban noir material and hangs out at Suburban Noir where you can also see the wonderful cover of Demise and pick up links to outlets.