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by Letha Albright
Memento Mori, May 2005
304 pages
ISBN: 097250785X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

It's just another regular night for Tahlequah Daily Tribune reporter Viv Powers as she recuperates from her latest hangover. She quickly sobers up when her sister Maggie calls to tell her that someone has broken into her house and trashed the place. Could she come over and be with her?

What Viv is about to find out is that Maggie, through no fault of her own, gets caught in the middle of an imbroglio and she does not know when it will end. All she did was let a stranger, who claimed she used to live in her house, come into her home even though she was acting a bit strangely. Now the FBI and IRS are hounding Maggie trying to find out what she knows about the mystery woman and her whereabouts.

As Viv in reporter mode tries to find out more about the mystery woman, a Native American environmental group drafts her in to help them in their cause. The Indigenous Peoples for Environmental Action or IPEA are opposed to a convoy passing through the town carrying what is essentially nuclear waste and they feel Viv can be impartial in her reporting.

In the space of what appears to be less than a week, Viv encounters a couple of bodies, family secrets, a possible cover-up by a waste management organization, an opportunist editor, and more complications in what is already her screwed-up love life. One thing you will learn is that she does not like to be played, and except for her sister, she is having trouble trusting other peoples' motives. Regardless, she continues to plough on ahead trying to get to the bottom of things.

One can appreciate the love that Albright has for her characters by making sure that their personalities are fleshed out throughout the story so that they do not become stock characters. She also makes sure that she writes about things she knows about or researched and translates it onto the page. Without the aid of pictures, she manages to describe the beauty of Northeast Oklahoma as Viv drives from Tahlequah to Tulsa as she goes on a quest for the truth.

The story is straightforward and she does not go over the top by putting her characters in unlikely situations. The book is about as real as it can get while still keeping its fictional elements. BAD LUCK WOMAN was a pleasant surprise. It should not be missed.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, August 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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