Once Wicked Always Dead: A Novel by T. Marie Benchley (M.M.W.E. Publishing, 296 pages)
“Ev’ry time you kiss me/ I’m still not certain that you love me…” Doc Pomus/Mort Shuman
The story begins at the intersection of retribution and lonely street. Well, not exactly, but it’s close enough to justify the reference – sorry Elvis and Terry.
Author T. Marie Benchley proudly proclaims that she hails from a family that included early exposure to classic literature as part of her upbringing. Perhaps her reliance on excessively flowery language can be attributed to the literature? The reviewer read an advanced copy/uncorrected proof; therefore, no direct quotes will be used in this review. Let’s hope that Ms. Benchley has engaged a skilled editor to polish up her novel because there are enough malaprops to be exorcised, or is that excised?
There are several story tracks that intertwine in the manner that is currently in fashion. The reader is horrified by a very vengeful, angry woman on the one hand, and on the other, is saddened by the plight of a faithful, devoted wife whose husband has neglected to inform her that he’s gay and has a lover. These tracks have some serious continuity issues. When they are paired with several non sequitur-like statements, it’s not clear whether this is an intentional device to draw the reader’s attention or a set up for later revelations.
Oh, I neglected to mention that the devoted wife just happens to be the only child of a very rich rancher – the ranch is situated on 45,000 acres in Big Sky country. Back at the ranch there are men who have been hounding dad to sell out and they really don’t want to take “No” for an answer.
Although the plot lines are tied together in a knot worthy of a sailor, I suggest that prospective readers pass on this one. My copy went straight to the recycle bin.
This review was written by Ruta Arellano. An Advance Review Copy was provided by the publisher.