HOLLY by Jeff Outlaw

HOLLY

a Brandi Bare novel
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Outlaw’s illustrated YA/conspiracy novel, a cash-strapped college student befriends a young woman claiming to be a top-secret government spy on the run from the law.

College freshman Dylan Dighton assumes she will be having a much-needed relaxing, solitary weekend on campus during Thanksgiving break. After explaining that she can’t join her roommates on a trip because she needs to work at the local record store to earn money, Dylan decides to take a walk around the neighborhood, where she witnesses a car accident. A young woman named Holly springs from the wreckage and begs Dylan not to call the police, but sirens are already blazing in the distance. After Holly injures a campus security guard with some top-notch martial arts, Dylan agrees to shelter Holly for the night in her vacant dorm. After Dylan awakes in the morning, she discovers that Holly has fled the coop and nicked a few items on her way out. When they encounter each other at a coffee shop a few hours later, Holly tells Dylan that she’s part of a government agency so secret it has no name, and she has been trained in a program related to an executive order given by President Kennedy before he was assassinated. Meanwhile, Dylan lands in hot water with campus security for the injured security guard, and she begins to wonder just what her new “friend” has dragged her into. Featuring a series of comic-book-style illustrations that show the titular character and Dylan in various states of undress and distress, the book attempts to inject mild erotic tension and playful camaraderie into a 50-year-old conspiracy about devaluing the nation’s currency. What the storytelling lacks in nuance it makes up for with relentless, page-turning pace: “The hand that came to rest on her shoulder was firm, impressive, and direct, as was the voice that followed. ‘Dylan Dighton, can we have a word with you?’ Her head pivoted quickly, and she found herself staring at campus security.” Dylan and Holly’s story is far from clichéd, but its implausibility puts it into the realm of stylized action-adventure.

An amusing, somewhat peculiar story about secret government agencies, conspiracies and the bond of friendship formed in a crisis.

Pub Date: July 16th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1497493056
Page count: 158pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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