Ravens In The Rain centers around Pru and Carney, she’s a woman with a past, and he’s a man with no future. Down on luck and down on love, they meet over a game of chance at an off-strip Vegas casino, and Carney wonders if Pru’s sparkle is what he needs to lift him from his darkness. He doesn’t even mind that she swiped a hundred-dollar bill from an old cowboy. It excites him.
While Pru, disillusioned by her sparkle, is now accustomed to the cynical disposition of vagabond life. She’s not looking for a one-night stand; she’s looking for survival and sizing Carney up as a comfortable solution, for the moment. When she finds out who he really is, she’ll ante up for the game of her life.
This romantic noir is a turbulent flight; like dating in the 21st century, it’s dangerous and daring.
Carney McMorris is a down on his luck ex-child star of a successful actor parent. His life was carefully choreographed through the teen acne that scarred him for life and all but ended his career. He stayed in the Hollywood scene, however, writing or directing when he had the opportunity, living on the legacy left by his dad. Now he has cigar-stomping cronies that he meets regularly at the bar, but these guys could hardly be classified as friends.
Prudencia (Pru) Romiti was abandoned early, surviving by her wits and cashing in on a beauty and sex appeal that opened doors. Largely living out of her car, sleeping on a couch provided by chance, she’s found staying mysterious keeps her fairly safe.
As luck would have it, they meet by chance at a craps table in Vegas. She survives by avoidance and disappears but he can’t get her out of his mind and she later manages to arrange another “chance” meeting. There is a significant age gap as well as social status, life experiences, and histories, but Carney is intrigued enough by her “dangerous” persona that he joins the games she employs.
When he takes her on a motorcycle ride, an accident results in a serious leg injury and he takes her into his home to insure she is nursed back to health.
The basic plot is a good one although the story is written strongly by tell not show. She likes to play games, which become tiresome, and although grateful for the care and the roof over her head and food, remains enigmatic. His infatuation seems to hinge on her desirability (broken leg or not) and her puzzling background, fed by tiny bits and pieces. (He must know more.) The narrative begins dark and doesn’t stray from the noir vibe.
His life intrudes more darkly on their tale than hers resulting in a death implied by her hand. Could be or not—she is not exactly beyond stealing and her history hints at a deadly side.
It’s a debut novel. I had a problem with a couple plot holes, need for additional editing, and my inability to engage with any of the characters. Both so suspicious of each other, it’s difficult to see a continuing relationship especially in view of the seriousness of the possible murder. A motorcycle accident as described would have whacked the bike so hard there is no way the driver could not have lost control (destroyed the fiberglass bag and her leg but still allowed him to pull over safely? Nah—takes less than that to knock a bike out from under you.)
A good effort in the noir vane and captured an essence of the Hollywood underbelly not usually dissected but pushed the relationship disbelief a bit far. The characters come off strong, not wholly likeable, and was surprised by the conclusion. Interesting first effort, though I’d recommend additional eyes on the manuscript.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher and these are my honest thoughts.
Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars
Genre: Noir Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mysteries
Publisher: Santo Films
ISBN: 109836967XASIN: B09GHH49V5 (Audiobook)
- ASIN : B095HYQ3YM (Kindle edition)
Print Length: 248 pages
Publication Date: September 22, 2021
Source: Author request
Title Link: Ravens in the Rain [Amazon]
The Authors: Christie Santo has published short stories and poetry and has freelanced as a ghostwriter. She received her BA in creative writing from California State University Long Beach and has over a decade of independent filmmaking experience in writing, editing, producing, and acting. Ravens In The Rain: A Noir Love Story is her debut novel. She lives in Burbank with her husband and two Boston Terrier dogs.
Jeff Santo is a screenwriter/director and has over 25 years of indie filmmaking experience. He’s a member of both the WGA and DGA and Ravens In The Rain is Jeff’s debut novel. He lives in Burbank, California, with his wife, Christie, and their two Boston Terriers.
©2021 V Williams