Lori Pollard-Johnson did a guest blog for me not too long along, and the more that we both got to talking about writing, and the process in general, the more interested I became in reading some of her own work. Now as the majority of you know, I'm a horror writer, so mysteries aren't my forte when it comes to writing popular fiction. However, when I'm not cuddled up reading a good slasher book, I'm normally reading mysteries. So when Lori sent me over a copy of her book, Toxic Torte, I was eager to start flipping through the pages, and to no surprise, quickly became immersed in a murderous plot featuring journalist, Jess Harriet and her quest to uncover a sinister plot of mouth-watering revenge.
What I really liked about Lori's novel was how easily the writing flowed. The dialogue was both realistic and true to the characters, and I think she did a wonderful job of creating a strong, female protagonist, which is something that I'm working on myself (and having quite a bit of difficulty with, I might add.) So needless to say, it was beneficial as both a reader, and a student, to see how she created such a likable character, while still giving her noticeable flaws and insecurities. I found myself easily connecting with Harriet, as well as becoming emotional invested in her search for the truth. But as readers, we know that no journey is going to be easy, and Pollard-Johnson definitely didn't disappoint; she threw plenty of curve balls in Harriet's way, and wasn't afraid to rough up her character a bit. This not only humanizes the protagonist, but makes the suspense angel that much more intense. And with break ins, poisonings, and a hungry-for-fame coworker, Harriet has to step it up if she wants to get the story, solve the mystery, and live to see another day.
So for those of your that are looking for a good read to cozy up with as the snow falls, I would highly recommend, Toxic Torte. It's a fun, fast read that will you keep you interested, and constantly guessing who the real killer is. And may I point out that I was wrong a least a dozen times! But that's half the fun of reading a mystery; you're always trying to outwit the author....and the killer.
Lori Pollard-Johnson is the author of four novels: THE LIE (Young Adult), TOXIC TORTE (Adult Mystery), RECIPE FOR A REBEL (Children’s) and THE TRUTH TEST (Children’s), and over 100 short works of fiction and nonfiction. She teaches college-level English and creative writing courses in the Seattle-Tacoma area.
"What a fun book. Perry Lowell's snarky restaurant reviews leave no doubt why someone would want to kill him. A delicious story." -Sandy Nachlinger, author of I.O.U. Sex
"...you don't want it to end. Toxic Torte is a surprise from beginning to end. I'm looking forward to Pollard-Johnson's next thriller-on-the-lite-side." - Linda Avery, "Pocket Writer"