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BOOK REVIEW:

Real Easy

One woman murdered. Another woman missing. A police detective traumatized by her recent past. An unidentified killer. Was this their first victim or the latest in a series of murders? Will they strike again? If so, when?

In Real Easy, Marie Rutkoski, who has been known until now for her outstanding children’s and young adult literature, makes her debut as an author of adult fiction in a thrilling novel that will not only challenge readers’ abilities to solve the crime, but their preconceptions as well.

The primary setting for Real Easy is a strip club in rural Illinois and all of the characters in the novel, other than the police officers, are the dancers, bouncers, customers, and owner of the club or their friends and families. While bars and nightclubs are regularly used as the settings for thrillers and mystery novels, strip clubs are rarely the setting or focus. Rutkoski demonstrates that strip clubs provide a myriad of overlooked, yet intriguing, possibilities in these genres. She then populates it with compelling, complex characters rather than the clichéd stereotypes typically portrayed, when an establishment of this type is used as a setting. The result is a window into a mostly unknown world, filled with a group of women working their jobs as they would in any other type of work, navigating the inherent hazards while looking out for each other, and making their way in a world that demands the services they provide, while simultaneously dismissing and/or penalizing them for providing them.

Rutkoski’s law enforcement characters are equally complex. They each have personal demons with which they are struggling as they navigate the inherent hazards of their own profession while attempting to identify a killer and kidnapper.

Real Easy is an unexpected step in the career of a writer who had already provided a number of excellent works for children and young adults. She is now an author to watch, in adult fiction as well!  Read our interview with her.

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