Crash and Burn – Cynthia Dane & Hildred Billings & Laura Angell (narrator)

Yet another book I liked more than I thought I would when I began reading (or, rather, listening in this case).

Jade grew up in Medford, Oregon, then joined the Air Force and is now starting a new job in Portland as a bodyguard. She knows who she is (100% lesbian) and is pretty earnest about her job and her life. Her new partner, Stella, is much more complicated. She’s messed up on many levels, but pretends she’s fine and happy with her life, and that all she cares about is getting laid as often as possible. She identifies as bisexual but doesn’t believe she could ever fall in love with a woman. She has a bad habit of sleeping with her job partners, and is still hung up on her ex-boyfriend, Agent Joseph Montoya. It doesn’t help that he’s hot, nice, loyal and that she literally took a bullet for him when they were working together. She used to do undercover work and is very good at hiding her feelings, including from herself.

At first, I was worried I’d get bored with Stella’s attitude and all her pining for her ex-boyfriend, how she likes to fuck guys and all that. It didn’t last long, though.

While Jade is straightforward and easy to like, Stella is the most interesting character, and the one who grows the most over the course of the story (a story that doesn’t stop at romance as both women get sucked into a murder investigation and a kidnapping ring). She’s a lot less shallow than she seems at first. She’s dealing with a lot at the beginning of the story – a career change she might not have really wanted, a break-up she’s not over, endless pain in her shoulder, loneliness she pretends not to feel. She reminds me both of Michelle Rodriguez before she was comfortable with her sexual orientation and of Cobie Smulders’s character in Stumptown, which coincidentally happens to also take place in Portland, Oregon. That attitude I was worried about hides a very complex, flawed and multi-dimensional character. As much as I liked Jade at the beginning, Stella was my favorite by the end.

4-stars

Crash and Burn @ audible

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