Caz Tellis has inherited money and now owns a small house in Hoxton, London. On the ground floor is her workshop where she restores antique rocking horses and builds new ones. On the first and top floor is her flat with a roof terrace. When stepping out onto it one Sunday morning she finds a shabby stranger and a shaggy dog sleeping on her sofa. Shock! Horror! Not only because of the fact that someone climbed up the walls and intruded on her privacy but also because the man turns out to be the famous rock star Ric Kealey - who has been dead for three years.
When I read this, my Kindle nearly dropped out of my hands. Had I not read the synopsis carefully and inadvertently ordered a novel featuring zombies? No reason to panic, however, the following pages revealed that his death was faked in order to avoid a prison sentence for the alleged murder of a band mate. His lawyer and ex-brother in-law ('ex' because Ric's sister has died) helped him to escape by staging a plane accident on the sea and then taking him to France by boat. There he worked as a farm hand for three years. He feels that the time has come to clear his name, to find the real murderer of his mate and best friend and to work out a way with his lawyer on how to get to his money which amounts to some 40 million GBP.
Good-natured and compassionate Caz allows him to stay downstairs when he can't contact his lawyer at once. As she's 'between boy-friends', it doesn't take too long until she succumbs to his charismatic charm and is drawn into his adventurous life. What follows is a murder mystery which nearly costs the two amateur detectives their lives. It's possible that other readers can guess the outcome sooner than I did, I'm never good at doing this. For me it was a surprise and that's a good thing.
Every now and then I feel like reading and reviewing a chick lit novel. When I've posted the review, it's only a matter of time until a comment appears in which a member voices their surprise concerning this reading matter. People seem to think they know me. If they really did, they'd know I'm versatile. If there were a category for it, I'd also review the text on the back of a cornflakes box. Besides, and that really annoys me, I've never seen such a comment if someone reviews horror or fantasy for a change, genres I'd only pick up if I had to serve a long prison sentence and had read all other books in the prison library.
Although I've enjoyed some chick lit novels, I've always found flaws in them which put me off for a considerable length of time - until the wish for something light cropped up again. The flaws are all of the same kind so that I thought they were inherent to the genre. After reading Remix by Lexi Revellian, however, I know they're not. On Amazon we can read what made the author put fingers to keyboard, "For years, I resisted writing because I knew I'd never be as good as Jane Austen. Finally I realized no one is as good as Jane Austen - I started writing and couldn't stop." She should have asked me when she was in doubt, I'd have told her, "Who wants to read Jane Austen all the time (or at all)?"
Caz Tellis is refreshingly different from the usual chick lit heroine. She does not have a job in the media, she is not the editor-in-chief of/journalist or photographer for a glitzy fashion mag. She does live in London, though, as nearly all her chick lit sisters do, but then, how would Ric find her in Nether-Piddleton-on-the Marshes? The author had an original idea to make her an expert on rocking horses. I bet no reader of this book has ever known anything about the topic, why not learn something new? The media and fashion world have been sucked dry by now. The author is a craftswoman herself, she says, "My day job (using my real name Lexi Dick) is designing and making jewellery and silver; I've made pieces for Lady Thatcher, the Athenaeum and Her Majesty the Queen."
Yet, what I find the most striking feature about Caz is that when she looks in the mirror she likes what she sees. No diet probs here! But we haven't reached the end of surprises, Caz doesn't indulge in binge drinking, either!! This is worth two exclamation marks as boozing bouts seem to be the epitome of British chicks, at least in fiction. A glass of champers or two to celebrate in style or a brandy to revive the spirits after a murder attack is all we get, no unsavoury descriptions of hangovers here. The supporting characters are well drawn. The glimpse into the world of rock music and how someone who's not in it is affected by it are interesting to read.
Another plus is the length of the novel, the dead tree version has only 278 pages. How extraordinary! And yet, the author tells us all we need to know. She refrains from superfluous descriptions, no "She went to the door, put her hand on the handle, pressed it gently, then stepped over the threshold etc., etc." instead of "She left the room". Of course, there's a second man in Caz' life, if there weren't, it wouldn't be a chick lit novel, would it? It's her friend James who she's known since they were toddlers and played in the sandpit together. They have been very close all the time but only platonically - or so Caz has thought until James kisses her on the mouth instead of on her cheek when saying good-buy. Of course, this has to happen just when things start developing with Ric. But, and here I have to praise the author again, she paints the picture and thinks we, the readers, are intelligent enough to get it. She doesn't make the female protagonist reflect on the pros and cons of the two men again and again and again page after page. Thanks for that!
Remix is Lexi Trevellian's third novel, the two before are fantasy (how could she?). But a sequel to this novel with the title Rewind is in the making, I look forward to it.
The book is sold on Amazon, the Kindle version costs 1.99 GBP, the paperback 9.99 GBP.