Sunday, January 04, 2009

Life's a Bitch. So am I.

Life’s a Bitch. So am I. Rachel Cord, P. I.:
A Confidential Investigations Mystery
By R. E. Conary

(Outskirts Press / 1-432-73143-2 / 978-1-432-73143-4 / October 2008 / 236 pages / $14.95)

Reviewed by Dianne Salerni for PODBRAM

In an unnamed city in the middle of the American Heartland, Rachel Cord, ex-Army MP, plies her trade as a private investigator. Female private investigators sometimes have a tough time being taken seriously, especially when they are as busty as Rachel, which is perhaps why her business cards are emblazoned with the slogan “Life’s a bitch. So am I.” In spite of the fact that Rachel likes to present herself as a hard-boiled detective, readers will find that she’s a lot more vulnerable than she wants to admit and the events in this, her first book, will shake her to the foundations and possibly break her.

In Life’s a Bitch. So am I Rachel has been hired to track down a missing teenager and investigate a series of assaults in the vicinity of a gay nightclub. She also works periodically on a personal case – the disappearance of her lover Karen, who up and left without explaining why several months previously. This third mystery keeps to the background and promises to play out in future novels, while the first two cases quickly dovetail into a tangled web of pornography, underage sex trade, and shady real estate deals. Readers should be prepared for graphic sexual violence and a shocking attack on the main character.

I have to say, the author, R.E. Conary took a big risk with this novel. I was blown away by the surprising turn of events, and my first thought was: “Nothing like this ever happens to Kinsey Millhone!” However, the utter predictability and formulaic nature of Sue Grafton’s novels are why I gave up on them before she got halfway through the alphabet. After reading Life’s a Bitch. So am I. I can say with certainty that R.E. Conary plans on being anything but formulaic. I could not have predicted in advance where she would take this book, and I have no idea where she will take Rachel Cord in the future. In my mind, that makes R.E. Conary an author to watch!

See Also: Dianne's B&N Review
The Author's Website
Review of Still a Bitch, the second book in this series


Malcolm R. Campbell said...

It's nice seeing books that aren't tied down by a formula approach.

I linked to this review on Facebook to help spread the word.


ChuckO said...

Sorry R.E. This comment is off topic.

Hi Mr. Orr; regarding a review of the book 'Cloud' - I can be reached at

Please consider reviewing my book, I think you (or any of your team) would appreciate it! It has not been reviewed yet. Of course, I am biased, but I believe this tome is worthy of some attention (as every author thinks of his own work!)

Thank you,