As someone who reads and watches quite a lot of suspense and mystery, my tendency is to immediately try to solve the puzzle myself. I usually spend the entire piece making wild predictions, attempting to stay ahead of the plot, and trying get to the end before the author does. Claudia Piñeiro absolutely derailed my every attempt to figure out the next step in this novel. She is a whip-smart author and spins a tight, thrilling story in her newest book, Betty Boo (Bitter Lemon Press).
Piñeiro pushes the reader directly into the action without warning, ignoring any potential for a brooding noir introduction to the story. Her clipped prose offers little chance for the mind to wander as the facts present themselves and the story unfolds. Her steady, confident narrative voice leads the reader’s imagination in a nearly cinematic way, constructing a full, breathing world almost imperceptibly. The plot itself leaves nothing further to be desired. Her characters are unique and rock-solid, her dialogue is fun and punchy, and she leaves no room for plot holes or confusing secondary stories. If you’re looking for a top-notch thriller, you’ve found it.
What’s truly delightful about this novel is not only the complex plot, strident narrative voice, or intrigue, but the genuine heart underneath it all. Piñeiro, while weaving a perfectly wonderful crime web, manages to fill the entire book with another layer of warmth and wit that leaves the reader walking away in total satisfaction.
After having read Betty Boo, I felt a pang of near-embarrassment at never having read any of Piñeiro’s other work, given that she is obviously a master crime author and skilled writer. Rest assured that at the end of this novel, you’ll want to read everything Piñeiro has ever written as soon as possible. Betty Boo is a wonderful addition to an already impressive body of work.
Tessa Bryant is a graduate of the Departments of Theatre and English at Lipscomb University. She is a writer, director, administrator, and researcher of the performing and fine arts, and works and guest lectures at Lipscomb University. She is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Creative Writing.
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