Author Guest Post
Why We Need More Bad Girls
By: Nancy Allen
Oh, baby—I love an antihero. Whether I’m reading or checking out movies or TV, I don’t want to see Dudley Dooright. I want Jack Reacher, Walter White, Tony Soprano, Cool Hand Luke. Give me a hero with a side dish of human foibles.
One area where our female protagonists don’t always measure up is the imperfection ratio. I adore a gutsy heroine in mystery, suspense and thrillers. But too often, these women are a little too good for my taste. To blow off steam, they strap on running shoes and go for a ten mile jaunt. When they’re hungry, they julienne up a gourmet meal for one. And when they are solving the case, they’re never wrong.
But wrong-headedness is something I adore. So when I created Elsie Arnold, the protagonist of The Code Of The Hills: An Ozark Mystery, I ladled on imperfection with a heavy hand. To blow off steam, assistant prosecutor Elsie runs—to the local barroom to guzzle beer. At suppertime, she’s likely to pull her car through the Sonic drive-in for a foot-long hot dog. Her vocabulary would make a sailor blush, and her taste in men turns her mother’s hair gray. And though Elsie’s smart, she stumbles as she works through the case, making legal mistakes that trip her up. But her heart is in the right place; despite her (many) failings, she is passionately determined to see justice done.
Elsie Arnold isn’t the only flawed female protagonist in fiction. Other notable figures are Janet Evanovich’s creation, Stephanie Plum; Lena Dunham’s Hannah on HBO’s Girls; and the iconic Scarlett O’Hara. Scarlett had the perfect mix of darkness and light: spitting in the eye of Southern propriety and foolishly nursing a crush on Ashley Wilkes while single-handedly saving her family from disaster. Hannah showcases the shortcomings of her own generation, but they are the same blind spots we all share. When she says, “I’m not really hungry. I’ll just get the pancakes,” I want to cheer. And Ms. Plum set the bar for us all in woman’s suspense, demonstrating that you can hoot at a Jersey girl’s persona (Stephanie, we’re laughing with you, not at you), and love her in spite of her salty, doughnut-devouring self.
So let’s hear it for the bad girls. Not the villains, though a delicious female villain is a literary treat. But I’m talking about the flawed, wrong-headed, hugely imperfect female antihero. Hope that club grows in number. It’s about time.
About The Author
AUTHOR WEBSITE - HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHER
The Code Of The Hills: An Ozarks Mystery by Nancy Allen
Publisher: Witness Impulse / HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: April 15, 2014 eBook / May 20, 2014 Paperback
Format: Paperback - 480 pages
Kindle - 660 KB
Nook - 591 KB
Genre: Legal Thriller
BUY THE BOOK: The Code Of The Hills
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.
But as soon as Elsie she begins to sink her teeth into the State of Missouri vs. Kris Taney, things start to go wrong - which is when her boss dumps the entire case on her. The star witness and victim’s brother, who has accused Taney of sexually abusing his three daughters, has gone missing. The three girls, ages six, twelve, and fifteen, may not be fit to testify, their mother won’t talk, and the evidence is spotty. To make matters worse, it seems that some people in town don’t want Elsie to lock Taney up – judging by the death threats and chicken parts left for her to find.
Elsie is determined to break the code of silence and find out what really happened, refusing to let a sex offender walk, but the odds – and maybe the community – are against her. Even as Elsie fights the good fight for her clients, she isn’t so different from them: her personal life is taking a one-two punch as her cop boyfriend becomes more and more controlling. And amidst all of the conflict, the safety of the three young Taney girls hangs in the balance.
“Highly recommended for terrific command of suspense, authenticity and utterly engaging central character, prosecutor Elsie . . . some of the best courtroom scenes I’ve ever read, some of the nastiest people encountered in fiction and for all that, it’s illuminated by passion and kindness . . . a truly marvelous debut.” — Frances Fyfield, Author of Gold Digger
My Book Review:
In her debut novel, The Code Of The Hills, author Nancy Allen draws upon her professional legal experience to weave a riveting legal thriller that captivates the reader's attention from the very beginning. Set in the small town of Barton, Missouri, in the heart of the Ozarks, the reader follows Prosecutor Elsie Arnold as she aggressively pursues and brings to trial a high-profile incest case against a man who allegedly sexually abuses his three young daughters.
The author easily draws the reader into the small town of Barton with its close-knit townspeople and its many dark secrets. As Elsie prepares to bring the case of the State of Missouri v. Kris Taney to trial, her investigation of the Taney family reveals a sinister code of silence that puts her in danger for her own safety.
The Code Of The Hills is a fast-paced, multi-layered, gripping, and complex story that has a great mixture of intrigue, romance, violence, and enough suspenseful twists and turns, and richly descriptive courtroom drama that will leave the reader breathless. The reader is taken on one hell of an emotional roller coaster ride as they follow Elsie on her difficult journey, she is determined to uncover the secrets and lies within the Taney family in a convincing and brutally honest style where no one is left unscathed.
RATING: 5 STARS
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