Ms. Monroe’s adult story is told simply without being too graphic or explicit. It is a tale of people who are unsatisfied with their life situations as some of us are.
The three main characters are Lola Mae, an unmarried woman; Joan, a married woman; and Calvin, a married man. All three join an online sex club where they meet a lot of other people who are strangers to them—an exciting, but possibly dangerous adventure any way. They each get to meet other members of the opposite sex. The remaining characters are sex club members, family members, church folk, and neighbors.
However, Calvin happens to be a serial killer which Ms. Monroe wastes no time in telling the reader. We’ve all heard of similar dangerous situations, but the author has created meaty characters with their own individual lives.
Single Lola Mae has lived with and been tortured nearly daily by her step relatives since her father’s death. Her step mom, Bertha, makes her do chores and prepare her step-mom’s “lack of hair.” Her lazy married step-sister and step-nephew are always on Lola’s back. Lola always has to explain herself to people who don’t give a damn about her as well as account for her whereabouts 24/7. Lola has a job at a supermarket, but if you are going to do this much clandestine adventure, you need to have a house or apartment of your own at the age of 32.
Joan, a little older than Lola, is married to a boring guy, Reed, who had let himself go weight-wise and sex-wise. Reed blackmails Joan into staying with him by often threatening to kill himself if Joan leaves him. Joan is Lola’s best friend. Lola helps Joan keep her sex club secret from her husband, but her husband also has a secret.
Calvin, the serial killer, has met Lola who he describes as “drop-dead gorgeous”. But she has one major flaw—she looks like the wife he secretly killed a few years ago for being unfaithful. Calvin had choices in this situation. He could have divorced his wife, or they could have gone to couples’ therapy. Not everything has to end in murder. He paints Lola with the same characteristics, but she is not an unfaithful type and dreams of being married to Calvin.
Here’s where the suspense comes in. Oh, there’s no doubt that Calvin’s going to kill Lola, but when? So, for several chapters, when you think Lola had breathed her last, she doesn’t. But you know the hammer is going to drop any minute. In your mind, eventually you start thinking, why doesn’t he just get it over with? But, no, he uses many substitutes to satisfy his murder monkey before he can set the right time to kill Lola.
The novel is light and entertainingly pleasant—a book to take your mind off your own troubles. Each chapter is titled by the person’s name who is telling their side of the story, which makes it very personal. Put all the ingredients together and you get a wild ride that keeps you on your toes. The book was not boring! Per Calvin, “murder is complicated”.
© 2017 Mary Monroe, Kensington Publishing Corporation
Review by Rosa L. Griffin