Review - RONNIE AND RITA, Deborah Sheldon
A novella in length, RONNIE AND RITA punches far above it's weight. A poignant and clever combination of sadness and tension, manipulation and desire, right from the beginning there's no way of avoiding the sense of impending disaster.
Perhaps it is because Ronnie is such a vulnerable, sad character. Alone in the world since his mother died, he is living the life handed to him. Still in his dead parent's house, surrounded by their possessions, he seems lost, on hold if you like, waiting for somebody or something. Rita, on the other hand, although also alone and living in a bedsit, is more driven. Desperate, edgy, there's something much more alive about her, albeit dangerous. Ronnie's attraction is easy to understand, and somehow even more poignant as you wonder where this relationship is heading.
In such a short form, there's a lot that happens in RONNIE AND RITA. Good character development and connection go hand in hand with a clever plot arc and an atmosphere of foreboding. There's plenty of pace and tension, with enough twists and turns to balance out that nagging sense of inevitability.
Very cleverly done, RONNIE AND RITA is one of the best local noir-styled stories this reviewer has been fortunate enough to encounter in a long time.
Ronnie Spooner is middle-aged and single. He's no-one; a loner who has mowed lawns for a living ever since he was a boy. When he meets Rita, they fall in love, and want nothing more than a family of their own. Too bad it isn't possible. Or is it? What Rita asks him to do is wrong. Terribly wrong. But compared to the emptiness of Ronnie's life so far, even wrong seems better than nothing. Acclaimed author Deborah Sheldon takes you on a twisted love story that detours into even darker territory. The things we do for love...
“Sheldon perfectly portrays the resignation to mediocrity that permeates many of the working/middle class neighbourhoods … and the desperate things they’ll sometimes do to break away.”
~ Addam Duke, Crime Factory Magazine
” … a masterpiece of psychological suspense.”
~ Cameron Trost, vice-president, Australian Horror Writers Association
This book is dark and dirty, bleak and without hope. Everything a noir story should be…
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