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Monday, September 3, 2012

Banger’s People by Mary O’Dell

Banger’s People by Mary O’Dell
Publisher: Turquoise Morning, LLC
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (216 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Iris

Every time Dixie Honaker feels that a ride on the love boat with her elegant, silver-haired neighbor Walter may be about to happen, Banger, her rude but good-hearted mutt, does something to splash cold water all over them.

Despite Banger’s helping to rescue Walter after he is mugged, the man still finds the dog a little too grungy for his taste. He feels the same about Dixie’s lovable, wild-ass son, with his pregnant girlfriend and druggie pal. But never fear, Dixie eventually nails down the truth about who mugged Walter and helps everyone else work out their problems—everyone but Banger, that is, who ends up in court on Halloween Day and needs a special dispensation of justice from the unlikeliest of sources.

It’s pretty uncommon for a secondary character to be the title character in a romance. Even more uncommon what that character is a dog. But Banger is the perfect choice for this novel. On the surface – this is a novel, or a romance novel between Dixie and Walter. Look past the surface to find the complex relationships and what connects them all? You guessed it – Banger – the dog.

This is not a novel for the reader who is looking for a light-hearted read or for the reader who is looking for a “down and dirty romp”. But rather, the reader who will enjoy this story is one who devours stories of relationships and daily life – the good, the bad, and the ugly as it were.

We’d like to find a hero and a heroine in every story we read. It’s pretty hard to do in this particular one. Not that this is a bad thing – each character is written in a “warts and all” style. The loving, caring, supportive sides, as well as the fearful, selfish, and crabby sides.

Dixie and Walter seem to be the “couple” most involved in the story. Yet, we see them together and apart time and time again. Even when angry at each other, we find them doing caring things for each other as well as for the people they care about.

Banger not only brings Walter and Dixie together, but he also brings Dixie back to her son, and to her son’s friends. These friends have a whole new set of issue and bring additional complexity to Dixie and Walter’s lives and relationship. Banger also brings “Officer Blair” into the picture – which not only adds another layer to Dixie’s life, but also tidily wraps up the story.

While this story is well-written and enjoyable, Ms. O’Dell uses several terms that are not familiar to me, (nor to my Kindle’s dictionary). I put this down to region and regional dialect, but it did give me pause while reading, and exercised my “reading in context” skills.

There were also several times when I was confused by the addition of singular lines of poetic text inserted into the story. A re-read revealed Dixie’s habit of quoting poetry during stressful times. An endearing quality to say the least.

In the spirit of disclosure . . . it is listed as a “holiday” book. Perhaps misleading, but in fact, the story “wrap up” is in fact on Halloween, and is alluded to throughout the book.

This is not a novel for a quick read. It took me much putting down and picking up to finish it. However, the character complexity and relationships used within the story are what makes the story as a whole.