Fish Stick Fridays, by Rhys Ford
Series: Half Moon Bay Mystery, Book One
Audiobook Narrator: Spencer Goss
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Book: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Audio: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
Staring down a family history of bad decisions and reaped consequences, Deacon cashes in everything he owns, purchases an auto shop in Half Moon Bay, and takes his niece, Zig, far away from the drug dens and murderous streets they grew up on. Zig deserves a better life than what he had, and Deacon is determined to give it to her.
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.
Since I hadn’t read Fish Stick Fridays prior to listening to the audiobook, I went into this one free of any preconceptions about the story itself and merely popped on the headphones and settled back to be entertained. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. I thought the story was fast paced and interesting and the narration was excellent, especially since the narrator, Spencer Goss, not only had to bring to life two very different MC’s but he also had the challenge of voicing a very precocious 9 year old girl. I was extremely impressed that he managed to not only make her believable, he was able to capture her strength and her vulnerability without making her annoying or bratty. That alone made this book for me.
This is really the story about three people, despite there being a host of other, mostly forgettable side characters. Deacon, an ex-con with a heart of gold, Lang, a nerdy bookstore owner trying to escape his past and Zig, a little girl with a hilariously dirty mouth.
Deacon and his niece Zig are in Half Moon Bay, trying to leave the chaos and violence of their old lives behind. Deacon has recently become Zig’s guardian after rescuing her from the foster care system in the aftermath of his sister’s death. Although Zig has seen more in her young life than any child should be exposed to, Deacon is determined to give her as normal an upbringing as possible and settles on Half Moon Bay as the solution. He buys a thriving auto repair shop, intending on putting his mechanic skills to work and hopefully settle into a routine that doesn’t include drugs, violence or death – three things that both Deacon and Zig have had to deal with in their pasts. But sometimes the past won’t die and when violence comes looking for them, Deacon has to be prepared to not only protect a little girl who has no one else to count on, but also a man he has quickly come to care for more than he thought possible.
Lang Harris is in Half Moon Bay intending on escaping his own violent past. The quiet bookstore owner is intent on living as small a life as possible, with no surprises or spontaneity. Just simple, straightforward and…dull. Suddenly, a gorgeous man and a precocious little girl blow into town, into his bookstore, into his life and Lang realizes that his self-imposed exile will never be the same again, and while he finds part of that terrifying, he quickly realizes that Deacon and Zig are worth risking everything for, including his heart. But when his past comes back to haunt him, he wonders if having them in his life will end up putting them all in danger.
Generally, I’m not a fan of insta-love and Deacon and Lang seem to fall into love fairly quickly in this book. But it seems to work here, possibly because they are almost immediately thrown into the path of violence early on, which could make or break a budding relationship. In this case it was the former and, like I said, it works here if only for that reason.
The story itself was quite good and I liked Deacon and Lang together. Deacon is surprisingly well read for someone who has lived a rather nomadic life, constantly moving from town to town, and his ability to keep up with Lang when talking books is funny and sweet. But it was little Zig who made this story, a fact that I find really surprising because I don’t normally like kids in my romance novels. Maybe it was because of her bloody hilarious potty mouth…actually, it was exactly that. Her expletives had me laughing out loud at times. Also, she’s not perfect or sickeningly sweet and her rough and tumble attitude was really appealing.
As for the audio portion of this book, I honestly think I enjoyed this story more as an audiobook than I would have if I had read it. This is a credit to the narrator who, I think, does an excellent job of not only the MC’s, but the side characters and he makes it very easy to distinguish who is talking at any given time. I especially liked his Deacon voice – it really seemed to fit Deacon’s character very well. But really, he did a great job with all of them and made the story more enjoyable for me.
Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.
Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats, a black Pomeranian puffball, a bonsai wolfhound, and a ginger cairn terrorist.
Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a red Hamilton Beach coffee maker.
But mostly to the coffee maker.
Find Rhys online at https://rhysford.com/.
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I received a free copy of this audio book in exchange for a fair and honest review.