Rating: 5 out of 5
Buy Link: Dreamspinner Press (Publisher)
Deacon Reid was born bad to the bone with no intention of changing. A lifetime of law-bending and living on the edge suited him just fine—until his baby sister died and he found himself raising her little girl.
Lang Harris is stunned when Zig, a little girl in combat boots and a purple tutu blows into his bookstore, and then he’s left speechless when her uncle, Deacon Reid walks in, hot on her heels. Lang always played it safe but Deacon tempts him to step over the line… just a little bit.
More than a little bit. And Lang is willing to be tempted.
Unfortunately, Zig isn’t the only bit of chaos dropped into Half Moon Bay. Violence and death strikes leaving Deacon scrambling to fight off a killer before he loses not only Zig but Lang too.
Murder mysteries with fascinating, complex characters are what Rhys Ford does best, and she’s definitely hit it out of the park with Fish Stick Fridays. I’ll admit, the title threw me off a bit at first; you don’t generally think of crime novels in the same sentence as fish sticks, right? But eventually I realized that the title fits the book perfectly… a bit of weird hovering just above a lot of tension, murder, and passion.
Let’s start with the weird, because to be honest that was my favorite part.
The weird comes in the form of a foul-mouthed, utterly delightful ball of mud and cotton candy, and goes by the name Zig.
I want an entire novel about Zig. She’s brilliant. The novel is about these really dark themes– people getting shot, criminals seeking redemption, bad family histories– but then you have this brilliant, precocious child who swears like a sailor and stomps around in black boots and tutus, and she takes the novel from “yet another murder mystery” and turns it into something much more enjoyable.
But of course, the weird isn’t the only thing in this novel.
“Tell you what, how about if we go from weird to really fucking good?”
Deacon is an ex-con who was raised in the slums. Lang is his complete opposite, born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Together they fight crime! Okay, not really… but there is crime, and plenty of it. Someone is tearing Half Moon Bay apart, and the suspect list is a mile long.
What made this novel special were the characters, and the way they interacted with each other. Deacon and Zig, both dropping four-letter-words like they’re going out of style, and Lang, raised in wealth, prim and proper, was hilarious to read.
“Hearing you swear is never going to get old.” Deacon chuckled as he pulled pillows out of a cabinet drawer. “You look all elegant and sleek, like some golden and black cat. Then you go all ghetto on me when a pretty book shakes its ass in front of you.”
And Rhys did a great job with the relationship between Deacon and Lang. It progresses slowly, allowing both characters to work through their insecurities and to move past the initial physical attraction and settle into a deeper emotional connection. And when they finally get their acts together and move into the bedroom? Whew! *fans self* Yeah, that part was definitely worth the wait!
The mystery itself was very well done, and I loved the supporting characters, although I wish we’d seen more of Eli, Yvonne, and Abe in the second half of the book. But the plot unfolded naturally, pieces fit together really well, and it was overall a lot of fun to read.
If you haven’t read Rhys Ford before, this is a great place to start. If you’re a long-time fan, then you can expect the same attention to detail, the same brilliant characters and intriguing plots as her previous works. This book isn’t as gritty as some of her other novels, but definitely has all of the things that make Rhys Ford a must-buy in my book!