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Fast Money is the second installment in the Shelby Nichols adventures series.
I am not a "psychic soccer mom" kind of guy. I like action, engaging, lost in the story real life nitty-gritty characters that can keep me absorbed for 9-11 hour flights. I like books I can listen to whilst driving that keep my mind focused instead of just another mindless song.
I started reading Colleen Helme's books when I stumbled upon Carrots, the first Shelby Nichols adventure, whilst stuck in my car in a downpour at a supermarket. The parallel got me involved, but the story got me committed. Since then I have read and enjoyed ALL of the Shelby Nichols adventures that up and coming author Ms. Helme has penned.
I started listening to them from Audible when they became available, and I have been pleasantly surprised and delighted that I did.
These stories and the entertainment I derive from them will remain long after the price is forgotten.
An audio performer can make or break a book. The voice we hear MUST be recognisable as the character we imagine, or all is lost, including interest, which will fast fade away and die. Fortunately, Wendy Tremont King IS Shelby Nichols incarnate, or at least her voice is, and that makes all the difference. Wendy does a 5 star job of performing in Fast Money. Her depictions of the other characters in the story, including the male mob boss Uncle Joey, the NOT love interest and hit man Ramos, and the Detective "Dimples". Her voice characterisations are understated, and that suits the performance admirably. It adds believability to the story. Colleen's writing and portrayal of the different personalities and mannerisms of the characters already make them utterly believable, and Wendy's portrayals only add to that panache.
It had been more than two years since I had read Fast Money, and I had actually forgotten a lot of the story, including the surprise and dramatic ending at the banquet by the time I got the Audible version and listened to it. I found myself laughing out loud, gasping at times, and generally so absorbed in the story that I actually at one point turned to the person in 6D next to me and asked, "Oh no! How is she going to get out of that?!" Fortunately, Ms. 6D was asleep at the time, and I quickly looked around to see if my gaff had been noticed. Fortunately, most everyone was asleep or absorbed in their own entertainment.
I have pondered long and hard about why I like the Shelby Nichols adventures so much. They are part mystery, part crime drama, part fantastic story... The thing is, they are so darn real and realistic, that they remind me of my own life (minus the mind-reading, drat)!
The book (and narration) is done in such a stream of consciousness fashion by the main character, that I can really relate to them. Shelby is an accidental heroine. She really loves her husband and kids. She really wants to be a good mom and wife. But life keeps happening to her. I don't think it is just my own job, which involves 2 weeks of national and international travel a month that makes the stories resonate so much, I think it is really the path of my own life, and the power of events outside of our own control. Shelby, like me, makes commitments, tries her hardest to keep them, but stuff keeps happening, and life gets in the way. And she tries to do the right thing, not the easy thing, and that creates a non-stop roller-coaster adventure you cannot stop listening to. One of the best things about this style of writing: Shelby gets to hear in her mind how people perceive her. Which can be VASTLY different from how she perceives herself.
Fast Money cost me sleep when I could not put it down as a written book. The audio book kept me constantly listening and recharging my iPad Air battery, listening on long flights, listening in the hotel, listening in the car... All with gripping and absorbed interest. It is a great book, and if anything it is more entertaining to listen to than to read.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Without any reservation, for pretty much anyone from tween to teen to AARP member. This is quality writing and performing at its best, and if I were you, I would avoid the disappointment of missing out on this fantastic book. Just plan on being hooked for the whole series!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Why did I not learn of the Shelby Nichols series earlier? The protagonist is a great character and the mystery series combines suspense with comedic fun. Fast Money is book 2 in the 10 novel series. I have already purchased six and it they are as wonderful is the first two I will listen to all 10. Since in Carrots, the first novel in the series, she received a strong blow from a bullet graze to her head Shelby can listen to the thoughts of others. The unique talent is delightful except when it gets her into trouble like a hit man being assigned to kill her. She has changed from a stay at home mother of two and wife of an attorney to a wonder woman whose skills are very much sought after. Shelby's husband Chris, mobster "Uncle" Joey, and detective "Dimples" Harris are among the other great characters.
This novel and this series are great fun as I look forward to more of Shelby's adventures. The narration is as good as the novels' contents. I love this series!!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful