A quirky, charming novel about a struggling author who’s hit with two life-changing challenges at once.
Marie-Jo Fortis’ (Chainsaw Jane, 2013) zany book is equal parts murder mystery, romance novel, and cancer drama. The book centers on Zoe Zimmerman, a writer living in New York City who’s been fruitless in her attempts to get published. One day, while visiting her lover Marc (a gynecologist), he discovers a lump in her breast. He immediately expresses concern, and after a mammogram and follow-up biopsy, Zoe learns that she has breast cancer and must undergo chemo on top of the pre-existing chaos of her daily life. Luckily, Zoe recently landed a job as an associate editor at a Chancecastle Publishing where she edits “how-to’s,” self-help books, and other titles to help her handle her bills. However, in the middle of everything, the beloved head of the publishing company, Terry Chancecastle, is found murdered in her office and Zoe finds herself a suspect. Fortis perhaps tries to pack too many storylines into one book. However, her prose remains engaging and humorous throughout. Zoe is a particularly vivid, likable lead, and Fortis gives her a charming and odd sense of humor. For example, Zoe often describes her passion for writing: “For years I have made love to words. Some were in dire need of Cialis, so I sent them away and called back others....I am the Cuisinart mixing up the traits of friends and foes to invent new characters who, coincidentally, will remind the reader of Grandma Georgette, who always gets Christmas presents for her grandkids at the Salvation Army.”
A very entertaining, if disjointed, tale featuring an unconventional protagonist.