Saturday, 6 October 2012

One Man's Opinion: BACKBURNER by NICOLA RAIN JORDAN



Nicola Jordan Rain offers up 2 really good stories in this book.

First off is Backburner (US), the tale of a couple of exes meeting up after hooking up on Facebook.

I know from personal experience just how messy such a reconnection can be – there’s all that emotional energy that had you together in the first place, there’s the sexual tension, the ‘what if?’ question that will always remain unanswered and there’s the foggy pain of the separation.

All-in-all, it makes the perfect situation for a tight piece fiction where the darkness has the subtlety of the shadows rather than the full-on black of midnight.

It’s a very good story and an enjoyable read. 

The situation plays out in a very real way.

Harrie is in her late thirties.  Life hasn’t been easy for her since her split with Patrick.

Patrick, on the other hand, has what looks like a beautiful life – wife, child, home, holidays, good job and the trimmings.  Soon as he sees Harrie, though, the dissatisfaction with all he has descends upon him and he sees his opportunity of escape when his youth and lust are rekindled.

We know the outcome from the start.  The work is written in reverse sequence.  Rather than making it less interesting, this structure adds layers to the sinister feeling of it all and helps us get a strong sense of depth without having to reach in and explore all the details.

The second story, ‘The Devil’s Pretty Daughter’ tells the tale of a backpacker who hitches a ride with a serial killer and finds the van-door lock has been removed.  It has a claustrophobic tension that’s very enjoyable.

This is a book that is short and not-so-sweet.  It is, however, a kind of treasure in itself.

The style suggests that the author might be at home writing in any genre or for any medium. 

The stories have a feel that they’re written with a view through  2 lenses – there’s the main one where the bigger picture is on show and there’s another that sees things from an unusual viewpoint and adds a perspective that strengthens the work.

Also of note is a rather lovely use of description:

Patrick – ‘awash with approval and starting to turn tweedy...[he] had given up on ‘travelling light’, his new ethos was ‘dragging this crap all over the country’.’

Noise – ‘The whistle of the kettle was putting on weight.’

Travel – ‘I got a Skytrain to the outskirts of Vancouver.  I got a bus to the outskirts of the outskirts.’

Such lovely brushstrokes add to the pleasure of the read.
If you're interested, Nicola has the  second story from the book (The Devil's Prety Daughter) and also her work GPSimone available for free over at Smashwords.

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