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Fool's Mate    by Laura Pedersen order for
Fool's Mate
by Laura Pedersen
Order:  USA  Can
CreateSpace, 2011 (2011)
Softcover, e-Book

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*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

I love Laura Pedersen's Haley Palmer series, but her standalone novel Fool's Mate just fell a little short. It still has Pedersen's wonderful pacing and plotting skills, but some of the characterization was just off.

Josie Kincaid is a hardened journalist by the young age of twenty-six. She spends her days trying to get her liberal, feminist agenda into the news stories she writes for The News Channel (TNC) and her nights drinking and sleeping with various men. Her future looks bleak with budget cuts at work, her car impounded, and her propensity for quitting so often that she has yet earn benefits. What she needs is a wake-up call. But it takes more than losing her job and the death of her father to do it for her. No, she must travel halfway around the world to finally accept that she needs help.

Pedersen's writing is engaging and the pages just fly by, despite the flawed characterization. First and foremost, Josie seems at least ten years older than she is supposed to be. Her ideas, mannerisms, and speech are all a generation off and there is nothing to give any indication that Fool's Mate takes place at any time earlier than the present. The only thing about her that rings true is her struggle to admit to and overcome her alcoholism.

The other main component of the novel that seems unrealistic is her relationship with Calvin. Things between them progress at a very bizarre pace, first slow, then fast, then practically non-existent, then at lightning speed, and there is no indication as to why and what changes between. It is just awkward. If you are looking for a novel where the main character is alcoholic, Laura Pedersen has created a great protagonist, but if you are looking for some fun, romantic chick-lit or the like, give Fool's Mate a pass.

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