There’s something Allie can’t remember, hidden memories bordering consciousness that refuse to surface until one day someone, something, ignites horrifying images of a forgotten night.
The above book blurb for E. Denise Billups third novel succinctly sums up Kalorama Road, an exciting rollercoaster ride of memories—intricate pieces that, in due course, complete a complex jigsaw puzzle.
Billups has a gift with words, no question. She can paint vivid pictures (“an overwhelming scent of roses whirls gossamer coils about me”) that help us visualize the setting or locale and experience what characters are feeling, sensing, and undergoing.
What makes Kalorama Road stick out from others of its ilk is that the plot twists and twines not only through the lead character’s POV, Allie, but those of others. When we’re in another character’s head, however, we’re never that far removed from Allie; we see her from another’s perspective.
The switches in POV would have proven more dynamic if characters had different voices. No one in real life speaks the same—some use jargon and lingo, some have accents, and others display positive or negative tones or attitudes. How characters communicate actions, details and thoughts would benefit from a few variances and idiosyncrasies.
There’s more telling than showing, which we’re often told as writers not to do, but it works. It’s as if we’re invited to read various character’s diaries; as such, we receive a “confidential” sense of inner turmoil and personal conviction. They all have quests and we’re pursuing them in tandem. The mystery of that strange, terrifying night on Kalorama Road will be solved if it’s the last thing we do.
Kalorama Road could easily be a five-star book—with a little reworking of the POVs (and some punctuation/typo clean-up). It has a bit of a “not final” draft feel, but it’s definitely worth a read. So pull up a chair, grab the book and a coffee (as java-lover Allie undoubtedly would), and enjoy the twisty turns and zigzag slopes of a suspenseful (“slightly supernaturally-infused”) mystery.
Rating: 4 out of 5
E. Denise Billups was born in Monroeville Alabama and raised in New York City where she currently resides and works in finance. A burgeoning author of fiction, she’s published three suspense novels, Kalorama Road, Chasing Victory, By Chance.
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