It is Reading Challenge time again and I am really excited this month.

My choice for this month features a writer who is a friend, we have worked together in the past, and she has guest posted on my blog. I am talking about Kim Strickland. I love her writing because it makes me laugh on a regular basis.

Now that I have the full disclosure done, let me say that Kim has a new novel coming out called Down at the Golden Coin – her second – and she sent me a review copy. I read it fairly quickly despite the fact I was seriously distracted by the Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs bio (which I will write about later). At first I was not too keen on the location – until we get hit with the sucker punch of …”Maybe I am the answer to your prayer.”

Cover Image from Eckhartz Press

The story starts and ends in a laundromat – The Golden Coin to be exact. It is not a yuppie laundromat with ferns and a bar next door. This one is hot and humid with a limited selection of drinks in the pop machine. Our protagonist, Annie, is going through a rough time and wishing to find a way to go. That is when she meets Violet, a cobalt blue-haired punker chick who is not as tough as she may appear, and states she is a messiah. Specifically, she is Annie’s messiah. She is here to help Annie get her life back on track even if things end badly. Which they tend to do for her.

As I and other patrons of the Golden Coin listen to their conversation, I can’t tell you how much I found myself agreeing with the conversation – from both sides. I understood where Annie was coming from and understood what Violet was teaching her.

I loved this book because I related to Annie. I know what it is like to get fired from a job, to lose that income and prestige, to feel like you are spinning your wheels but are helpless to do anything else. That is where our personal similarities end, but trust me, I know Annie.

I also enjoyed the writing. It was bright, introspective, unfailingly honest. Sarcasm is spoken well here. I am the type of person who reads for beautiful descriptive sentences. There is this one… “Like no other man I’ve known, Jake reeks of success.” It tells me everything I need to know about this guy, at least what he looks like – his confidence, his swagger.

I also look for characters to remain true to their basic personality traits. When a messiah comes along to give you a message, I wonder how any of us would act but I knew Annie was being real. She was scared but intrigued, as much as she said she wanted real answers the truth of her life frightened her. More importantly, I never felt that Annie, Violet or the other characters acted unlike themselves. They stayed true to themselves, stayed true to their codes which can be really hard when the writer is fighting for a happy ending.

The book was worth my time, a worthwhile read. If Kim tells me she has another book coming out, you can bet I am in line waiting for my copy.

Down at the Golden Coin is being released on March 20th. You can order your copy at Eckhartz Press.