‘Slash and Burn’ by Valerie Bronwen

‘Slash and Burn’ by Valerie Bronwen is a book I would probably never have picked up in a bookstore because I’m an idiot. There, I said it. Let me explain why this is the case. Even though I always demand more queer characters, I shy away from reading books targeted as queer literature which if course doesn’t make any sense. In my head, I just assume, it can’t be as good as the popular straight literature, especially in the crime genre where this novel belongs. Alas, I’m slowly learning my lesson. Back to the book though.

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The protagonist of the story is Tracy, who writes crime novels for her heroine Laura Lassiter. She also writes lesbian romance novels which is why she is at the Angels and Demons literary festival in New Orleans when suddenly a dead body falls from the sky, landing right in front of her. That’s the basic plot idea here, I’m not going to say more since people can get picky about what is considered a spoiler and what isn’t.

The crime part of the book is actually not that big. Sure there is all the getting to know the victim part but it’s not comparable to a Kathy Reichs novel in my opinion. ‘Slash and Burn’ is the first in what I assume is going to be a series of books, since the author is already working on book number two. It’s a little bit heavy on exposition from time to time but also very meta on writing which I enjoyed immensely. Actually, the expository stuff wasn’t bad, I like getting to know the people and it’s what stays with me after finishing rather than remembering who did it.

Tracy is not your typical investigator and she doesn’t even want to be one. I mean, it’s hardly her fault the dead body landed right in front of her. She may be writing those stories for a living but it’s barely something she wants to be doing in real life.

On the whole, I enjoyed this book and I will probably be checking out the next one when it comes out. It’s a typical crime novel but also not, which is nice. I know this hardly makes sense but I tried explaining it above already. In the story, Tracy rekindles with an old lover of hers which will be interesting to see how it continues, since Dani is not a perfect girlfriend.

It’s a novel for and about queer people which is good and it wasn’t better or worse than many others I’ve read in the crime genre so that’s great and definitely taught me a lesson never to judge a book by its cover. Oh, well, I still do that but you know what I mean.

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