Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blue Diablo by Ann Aquirre

Eighteen months ago, Corine Solomon crossed the border and wound up in Mexico City, fleeing her past, her lover, and her “gift.” Corine, a handler, can touch something and now its history—and sometimes, its future. Using her ability, she can find missing persons—and that’s why people never stop trying to find her. People like her ex, Chance.

Chance, whose uncanny luck has led him to her doorstep, needs her help. Someone dear to them both has gone missing in Laredo, Texas, and the only hope of finding her is through Corine’s gift. But their search may prove dangerous as the trail leads them into a strange, dark world of demons and sorcerers, ghosts and witchcraft, zombies---and black magic….
~from the back cover.
The morning after finishing Blue Diablo’s advanced reader copy, I lay in bed wondering how I could explain more than the blub does without leaking spoilers. I could note how the first four pages are in present tense, like an odd holdover from Aguirre’s sci-fi series, only to suddenly move to past-tense for the last page and a half of the first chapter and ever after. Of course, this is the ARC, so that may not still be the case for the actual print run. Even if it is, it only takes you out of the story a little; I was in the middle of the second chapter before I thought, “Wait. Huh?”

I could tell, I thought, about how the heroine has an enjoyable personality with the sort of self-esteem issues that we get a little tired of in our friends but put up with. That’s when it hit me: not only did Corine’s thoughts and fears remind me of real life conversations, everything from those issues to the description of her looks, down to what she wore—in the text, not the obligatory sexed up cover-- reminded me so much of one of my best friends that I wanted to post a picture. (Don’t worry, D. I won’t do that to you; not only do I know it would be wrong, but also you’re scary when you’re mad.)

Aguirre managed to create a character who really could be one of us. Her power isn’t so bizarrely out there. I attended an intuition workshop that included psychometry. Each participant handled objects much like Corine goes—granted, with far less success and none of the price our heroine has to pay. She’s kick ass without being able to kick everybody’s ass; in a combat situation, she’s better armed with a cell phone ready to call 911 than with a gun, but she’s no damsel in distress waiting for the big strong men to come rescue her.

What would you do if you gathered all your courage and moved to a brand new place to escape the relationship that had almost gotten you killed? And if the ex who could still make your knees go weak tracked you down looking for help on something even more dangerous than what you had left behind? Pre-order Ann Aguirre’s Blue Diablo, due out on April 7, 2009, to read what Corine Solomon does when it happens to her.


Ann Aguirre said...

Oh, cool! It sounds like you enjoyed it -- and I'm so pleased you felt Corine is realistic. That's what I was going for.

Regarding the shift in tense at the beginning: the first bit in present tense is sort of an inner monologue, Corine's thoughts as she's standing at the counter in the pawnshop. It was never suggested to put in italics to make that more clear. I don't like to begin books in italics because people often think it's a dream. But that's why the shift if that helps any.

An Again said...

Ms. Aguirre, thanks for stopping by!

There wasn't anything I didn't like about the book, but I did not want to post a gush fest of "Oh, there's one thing you'll expect, but then there's this huge twist I never saw coming, and how she wrote the relationship gone wrong is probably the best anywhere and..." :-D

With the tense shift, I gave it my Grimspace test at first glance: flipped to the middle, saw it did not continue throughout the book, and moved on. Like I said, it wasn't for several more pages that something clicked and sent me back looking for the shift.

As a writer learning new things from what the pros do, I caught that the change happened when Chance spoke. As a reader engaged in the story, it's never *good* to have anything take me out of it, but it wasn't that bad, either.

Ann Aguirre said...

Oooh, can I quote you? "best anywhere?" *bliss*

An Again said...


I can't tell you you how refreshing that was. The Briggs and Caine quotes are likely to carry more weight, though!

azteclady said...

An Again, could you email me please?

azteclady1 at gmail dot com

Thank you!