THE FLAPPER, THE IMPOSTOR, AND THE STALKER by Charlene Bell Dietz
Kirkus Star

THE FLAPPER, THE IMPOSTOR, AND THE STALKER

From the "Inkydance Book Club Collection" series
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this prequel, readers discover where a feisty, chain-smoking, elderly flapper got her start—in Chicago in the Roaring ’20s with all of its frenetic craziness.

Seventeen-year-old Kathleen McPherson comes from a staid, upper-middle-class family in Minneapolis, but she is a rebel at heart. When a young classmate is murdered in the park right across from her house one night in 1923, she begins to sense danger. She decides she will absolutely not attend the women’s college that her family has picked out for her. A talented dancer, she and her gifted singer pal, Sophie Dagget, run off to Chicago. Amazingly, they both find work, but that just pulls them deeper into danger. Madcap characters proliferate. Some are good and protective, but others are as dangerous as rattlesnakes. In fact, people from Kathleen’s past in Minneapolis are more treacherous than the notorious gangsters in Chicago. Did her almost lover Chester Davidson fake his death, and is he now trying to kill her? What about wacky Ivy Schrader? Is Mrs. Vivian Davidson to be trusted? And who is this rather creepy Pritchard fellow who nonetheless seems to be a kind of guardian angel? The action never stops, and the girls—the annoying Dolly, a former classmate, also shows up—get into one scrape after another. Kathleen falls for a married man who is not really the cad that he seems. The imposter is finally revealed, and readers can have their choice of stalkers, depending on the quarry. Dietz (The Flapper, the Scientist, and the Saboteur, 2016), whose preceding novel featured Aunt Kathleen McPherson as an aging flapper and spirited amateur detective, has a wonderful time with all of it. The chapters are quite short, with each one featuring an epigraph and an appropriate cliffhanger or semicliffhanger. The author’s prose deftly captures her protagonist’s gutsiness and insouciance. Here Kathleen steals a gangster’s car left idling: “She floor boarded it down the street, howling in delight, taking the corner on two wheels.…Her face hurt from grinning.” It is hard to believe that the teenage flapper could be so savvy, so smart, such a survivor, but Dietz makes readers believe as the pages turn. The author is also a master of suspense. Not until the final pages is the stalker (or stalkers) revealed.

A fast-paced historical novel that is both scary and witty, a wonderful combination.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-945212-65-9
Page count: 308pp
Publisher: Quill Mark Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2018




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