Reviewed by Jan Peregrine
by Caroline Taylor
Moonshine Cove Publishing
Paperback: 246 pages, December 1, 2017, ISBN-13: 978-1945181269
Though Loose Ends by Caroline Taylor is set in the ever-crazy mid/late 1970s, it seems like a droll commentary on today’s wild and woolly atmosphere in America. The story spirals out of control because, for one reason or another, there’s communication breakdown between all of the characters. As the cover warns, one main character’s troubles only began when her lovely home was blown up minutes after she eluded armed men and escaped to the garden shed in back. There’s nothing left of her former life. Carson, a young, divorced woman, goes on the run in fear for her life or that she’ll be blamed for the blow-up and go to prison. She could not bear going to prison because, as we learn from her memories, she once was raped while unconscious in prison and witnessed her younger sister about to be raped before passing out.
Her chapters are followed by chapters about her sister Cameron or Cam. Cam has impulsively joined a religious commune in rural Pennsylvania to hide from the police and try to impress her lawyer boyfriend who suspects the commune of nefarious, illegal activities. Thinking she’ll find the goods on them and take pictures, she soon realizes that this was a bad idea. It’s almost like being in prison.
You can call Loose Ends social commentary, a mystery to be solved, a psychological thriller, an escape novel for the novel, and even a comedy of errors. While it’s a serious situation both women are in now and were in when they were growing up temporarily in El Salvador, there’s a comedic lining.
The ending surprised me, a good thing, so maybe it really is a comedy of errors. When armed men break into your home, then blow it up, and you live a quiet life by yourself, well, you know they must be after you for completely mysterious reasons. Is it a plausible story? Not really. That’s why it strikes me as droll social commentary. Can a three-year-old be a legitimate murder witness? Even if it’s in the 1970s, that doesn’t sound plausible. Could a federal agent infiltrate a commune and within months be elevated by its members to their new director? Who cares. It’s a great way to escape for a while into other people’s crazy lives.
I loved the chapter titles named for song titles that fit in with the women were going through. Some I didn’t recognize, but many I did. The women weren’t listening to music, but titles like “Break It To Me Gently” added to the fun.
About the reviewer: Jan Peregrine has tried her hand at self-publishing and has about seven she recommends on Amazon or Audible. She has a new audiobook on audible.com, Dr. Freudine Is In: The Drama Deepens. Reviewers may ask for promo codes.