The Fortune Teller's Daughter

The Fortune Teller's Daughter - Diane Wood Nathalie is a trained lawyer but chose to work for peanuts for the police instead. She also volunteers at a women's center. All this is supposedly penance for a past life of teenage depravity, sex and drug use. At the women's center she meets Alex, who is her polar opposite. As Nat is dark and damaged, Alex is pure, unsullied and full of love. Can Nat get past her shame? Can she let Alex in? Can Alex stand Nat's terrible nightmares? Just when happiness finally seems to be within Nat's reach, a gut-wrenching twist threatens to take everything away. Damn, I should have seen that coming...but I didn't, even with the red herrings. Great plotting!

This is Ms. Wood's second novel. And I'm liking her style--dark, gritty and realistic. Occasionally even repulsive. Its guaranteed to elicit a visceral reaction from the reader. In her first book, [b:Web of Obsessions|17290823|Web of Obsessions|Diane Wood||23913081], she insulated the lead characters from the darkness, but here, one of the MCs is literally buried in it. The author doesn't sweep the dirt under the rug. The MC and other characters here are seriously flawed but very real. That's not to say Nat and Alex aren't sympathetic or likeable. Their rocky, angsty journey is the heart of this book. Be ready with the tissues!

But, the love story apart, this is not an easy read. The subject matter made me uncomfortable throughout. Couple that with the not-so-black-and-white characterizations and the outright sleazy ones, and ugh, I started to have homicidal thoughts. :)

Some other observations: I like the plotting. Detailed and a little messy. Not too neat. A lot like real life. There are no super sleuths or spectacular busts here. Just good old fashioned police work and the occasional dumb luck. The side plot about the serial killings felt more like a storytelling device or a way to extend the page count so its a good thing it wasn't too distracting.

If you can't decide whether to take a chance on this book, just head on to amazon and download the Prologue. If you don't feel like throwing up after reading it, then you're good to go. That is as bad as it gets. Fortunately there are no graphic descriptions of violence or lurid scenes. Most of the horrific incidents happened in the past and are simply related by speakers. The rest are either fade to black or just implied. This is one time when telling rather than showing felt more appropriate.