Friday, January 11, 2013
Kathleen Gerard - In Transit: A Novel - Review & Giveaway
About the Book
Best Romantic Fiction
New York Book Festival 2011
Can a rookie cop survive the men who cross her path in the NYPD?
When a psychic in a shopping mall tells Rita Del Vecchio that she is "destined for greatness," and she will "marry a man in uniform," the restless, wet-behind-the-ears, 22 year-old decides to finally take control of her life. Rita sets out on a quest to become a New York City Police Officer. But can a spry, feisty, single woman thrive in the gritty world of New York's Finest?
Leaving behind the suburbs of New Jersey and a job as an under-tipped waitress, Rita Del Vecchio hangs up her apron and ballet slippers for a bullet-proof vest. But will she wear it? And if she does, will it protect her on the mean streets of Manhattan? Can it also protect her from Cupid’s arrows if they should land amiss?
Rita is assigned to the New York City Transit Police Squad and gets more than she bargained for. Riding the Lexington Avenue Subway Line, Rita winds up meeting not one man in uniform, but many. Whom will she love?
In Transit is a woman-in-jeopardy story, a post 9-11 novel, that delves into the ordinary lives of NYPD career cops and how their fates are often determined by people who hold secrets as dark and as labyrinth-like as the New York City Subway System.
"Nana always used to say a girl needs to spend all four seasons with a man before she says I do." Smart advice from the mom of Rita Del Vecchio. If only she listened to it. Award-winning author, Kathleen Gerard, offers her readers this dire warning in her gritty, yet romantic, cop thriller, In Transit: A Novel: look beyond the surface, don't settle for appearances. Getting swept off your feet (like her main character) can be dangerous.
At the beginning, Rita is an idealist. Call her naive, she's a hopeless romantic. Sick of waitressing at a diner in Jersey, she puts undue emphasis on an impromptu psychic reading that her destiny lies with a man in uniform. Hearing that the NYPD is seeking new recruits, she struggles through the boot camp conditions of officer training with a bulldog of an instructor, Sergeant Gary Hill. She makes it all the way to graduation only to lock eyes with crooked cop, Billy Quinn.
Gerard knows how to paint a picture of working the beat of an inner city cop. When assigned the subways to patrol, Rita falls into a steady routine of riding the rails and talking about the Yankees with her sweetheart of a partner, Franko O'Malley. They are like two peas in a pod until Billy makes a grandiose play for Rita's affections.
The novel operates around two simultaneous story lines. The majority of events are told through Rita's point of view, but there's also a concurrent thread depicting Billy's secret life. Gerard weaves the plot into a seamless whole, and a sense of foreboding builds as Rita unknowingly becomes more entangled in Billy's web of lies.
The characterization shines in the ethnic divide between the Italians and the Irish. Rita's mom is the classic example of an Italian matriarch. She's a pasta-cooking force of nature. She senses Billy is a no good Irishman when he shows up late, drinks more than he should and offers her daughter a hand-me-down wedding band. Her instincts are right on the money, but her high-handed way of expressing her concerns to her daughter go unheeded. As Rita responds, "No, you're passing judgment. That's what you're doing. No one is ever going to be good enough for me. Are they, Ma?"
In a brutal scene, Billy's true nature is finally revealed to Rita when he drags her into the woods during their wedding reception. The threat of violence shocks the reader into grasping the full measure of Billy's depravity. He progressively worsens through the second half of the novel, but this tipping point is graphic in nature serving to fully illustrate the ever-changing nature of their relationship. Jealousy. Possessiveness. Paranoia. Alcoholism. Drug addiction. All of Billy's demons are revealed one by one.
The supporting cast is also restructured as Billy begins to drive the narrative. One character is murdered. Another becomes a pillar of support for Rita as a new - and unexpected - love interest. While another comes out of the closet and reveals his homosexuality to Rita. All of these narrative twists are handled with care and grace as Gerard infuses her secondary characters with as much complexity and level of detail that she bestows upon Rita and Billy.
For a woman tough enough to choose employment as a post 9-11 cop, Rita is someone who never expected to become a victim in her own home. Her inner strength slowly re-emerges, even after she is dealt some crippling set-backs. Gerard creates a female protagonist who is easy to root for. Rita's choices at times may be questionable, but her resolve to make the most out of life never wavers. In Transit: A Novel may revolve around cops, but it is centered around the workings of a woman's heart.
In Transit: A Novel buy links:
Barnes and Noble
Price: $4.99 ebook, $25.95 hardcover
Pages: 246 ebook, 284 hardcover
Hardcover Publisher: Five Star (Gale-Cengage-Thorndike Press)
eBook Publisher: Untreed Reads
Hardcover Release: May 2011
eBook Release: October 2012
About the Author
Kathleen Gerard writes across genres. Her fiction has been awarded The Perillo Prize, The Eric Hoffer Prose Award and was nominated for Best New American Voices, all national prizes in literature. Her prose and poetry have been widely published in magazines, literary journals, anthologies and broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR). Several of her plays have been staged and performed regionally and off-Broadway.
Links to connect with Kathleen:
Blog Tour Site
About the Giveaway
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