When I first posted this First Chapter Review at The Book Connection, I toyed around with the format a bit.
TITLE/AUTHOR: For the Birds/Aaron Paul Lazar
BLURB: What happens when a parakeet named Ruby gets an unexpected mind-meld with Marcella Hollister's quarrelsome mother, Thelma? After Thelma is kidnapped from her hospital bed, Marcella must find her -- somewhere in the tall pines of the six-million-acre Adirondack Park. With the help of her Native American husband Quinn and bizarre "tips" from Ruby, Marcella butts heads with quirky bird psychic Earl Tiramisu, much to the chagrin of the FBI, who wants her to stay out of the investigation.
Why is Tiramisu asking questions about Thelma's past and the money she's been spending? The FBI agents hint that it may be related to an unsolved fifty-year-old bank heist, but Marcella can't believe her annoying, but honest-to-a-fault mother could be involved.
Across the rugged Adirondack park landscape, a brutal scenario evolves, where the good guys aren't what they seem, and only Ruby's newly acquired talents provide slim hope for survival.
COVER: This is a neat cover. Based upon what I know from the first chapter, the rustic landscape is perfect. The orange bird ties into the title, and according to the blurb I know it has something to do with the plot. Except for suffering from looking way too computer generated, I like it.
FIRST CHAPTER: Driving down a remote Adirondack dirt road, Marcella and her husband, Quinn, are looking for a hotel. They're lost, they're sweaty, and Marcella thinks her hubby is a bit of a control freak. Snoring in the back, oblivious to all the bumps in the road is Thelma, Marcella's mother. This doesn't look like a good way to start their adventure.
KEEP READING: Definitely. Lazar manages to give the reader a lot of information in this first chapter without making her feel overwhelmed. Within a few pages, we learn Marcella is a bit of a cheapskate and a control freak. Her husband calls her babe, a lot. He's the calm and patient pitter to her hyper and impatient patter. There's even a hint that the relationship with her mother might not be perfect.
The author does a fine job of describing the setting and painting a picture for his reader, so that she feels like she is riding in the van alongside Marcella and Quinn, having her own teeth rattled going over each pothole.
My tiny nitpick, and it's really more a pet peeve, is that the main character's name isn't made known to the reader in the first chapter. You know it's Marcella from the back cover blurb, but Quinn only refers to her as babe, so you don't know her name until the second page of chapter two, when her mother talks to her. Here I am supposed to connect with this character on some level, and I don't even know her first name. Why does it bother me? I guess it's because I like to remember people's names and for them to remember mine. Silly? Yes.
Paperback: 242 pages
Publisher: Paladin Timeless Books (November 15, 2011)
I received a free digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this first chapter review.
This post first appeared at The Book Connection.