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Friday, July 17, 2009

Marta's Place by C.M. Albrecht

Marta's Place by C.M. Albrecht
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Mystery
Length: Full (154 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Can drifter Hal Morrison find a way to deal with murder, menace--and Marta?

Hal wants a chance to improve his lot in life. The trouble begins when everybody else tries to make something of him, too.

Shallow sexpot Ara wants to make him her lover. Unattractive businesswoman Marta wants to make him her husband. Detectives want to make him an accused murderer. And what menacing drug kingpin El Zurdo wants to make him doesn't bear thinking about.

Hungry for intrigue and danger? Come on in to Marta's Place--but watch your step!

From the start, C.M. Albrecht's main character, Hal is intriguing. He's a dark individual, with a gloomy outlook...and he stumbles into a situation that offers him an opportunity. People at Marta's (a diner) are from the sadder side of town, and a sad picture of poverty and relative hopelessness emerges. And, Hal seems to fit in. From the first he is reacting to various situations - (from avoiding the 'old enough to be his mother Marta, to avoiding Jail.) He needs outside motivation to drive him to do anything.

His friends, at 'the Joint' are, as he calls them, losers. He describes them in painful detail, as if dismissing them, but he does listen to them. Dialogue is the absolute standout here: it's natural and believable. The often coarse comments fit their speakers - and make their points. It's the opinions of the guys at 'the Joynt' that cause Hal to reconsider Marta. However, even as he does, she becomes more acceptable to him because he imagines her as someone else - like the more sexy Ara. Hal does take up more duties at the restaurant, he learns... he even becomes actively involved in the police case. He's clever and he sees into the soul of many people - he sees motivation, and has a grasp of humanity.

The quality of the writing here leaves no complaint. The work is interesting, and even thought-provoking. However, this is far from a typical romance. It is an engaging read, so I am going to go ahead and give it 3 books.