Thursday, 22 August 2019

Girl in the Rear View Mirror, by Kelsey Rae Dimberg.

          Ms Dimberg’s debut novel opens with her protagonist, Finn Hunt, feeling very smug indeed – she has a great new job as nanny to Amabel, the 4 year old granddaughter of incumbent Arizona Republican Senator James Martin – ‘Your Senator’ and as such, has entrĂ©e to places that previously only featured in her daydreams.  And thanks to her good looks, she is the girlfriend of the Senator’s trusted Aide.  Life is good!       
            Well, she needed a break.  Finn has left secrets behind in the MidWest from whence she came, and ‘restructuring’ is in order – she’s ready to slam shut the door on her past, and embrace her great new circumstances.  Why, even her handsome employer, Amabel’s father, eventually expected to take over the Senator’s safe seat, appears to be attracted to her, as she is to him:  such a life could go to a girl’s head if she’s not careful!
            But good times inevitably turn into their opposite:  Amabel announces that a lady is following her – ‘I’ve seen her lots of times’ – and the lady eventually contacts Finn, saying that she needs her help:  she’s pregnant to Amabel’s father and he won’t speak to her!  Finn’s attempts to remedy the situation create more problems than they solve, for no whiff of scandal must blight the Senator’s re-election campaign, especially when he has a personable young Latino running against him.  Blackmail and extortion to buy silence destroys the wonderful illusion for Finn of privilege and moral righteousness surrounding the Martin family.  Their wealth is a buttress against secrets and lies, but they are no better after all, than anyone else.  Finn’s idols indeed have feet of clay.
            More tragedy occurs and Finn is on the receiving end of it:  her job has gone and eventually, so does her boyfriend, betraying her in such a way that for her own self-respect she finally has to make a stand against the corruption she uncovers – or die trying.
            Ms Emberg is a skilful writer.  Her portrayal of life for the privileged in the great desert city of Phoenix is compelling and credible:  as we cruise through the first half of the book we have no inkling of all the trouble that’s waiting, BUT!  The action slows, the plot stutters and an entirely predictable conclusion is presented.  The Bad Guys win.  YOUR Senator’ wins.  The air has leaked out of Ms Emberg’s tires.  THREE STARS.   

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