Friday, October 03, 2008

Her Good Name by Josi S. Kilpack

I got Her Good Name by Josi Kilpack a couple of weeks ago but I had to wait to read it because other less important stuff like cooking and cleaning and working my day job kept getting in the way. I started it a few days ago and then stayed up until 2:00 a.m. this morning to finish it. That right there should tell ya sumthin'.

Here's the promo on the book:

Chrissy is having an identity crisis. As a single woman and convert to the Church, she has always managed to find her place in life—at least until someone else begins using her credit cards, her bank account, and, most important, her name. Now the real Chrissy must prove her innocence against a growing pile of collection notices and unpaid bills. But with no job, no money, a warrant for her arrest, and a closet full of high-heeled shoes, a girl can only get so far. When Chrissy meets Micah Heet, the other half of a blind date gone bad, the two discover they are facing the same battle and join forces to find the perpetrators. Little do they know that the small semblance of life they have left will be put on the line in the process.

I really liked this book for so many reasons. First, I liked Chrissy. She's Latino and I think it's about time we got a little color in our LDS fiction. She's also pretty feisty. She doesn't let white-boy Micah control the relationship, even though she has a strong attraction to him. She also doesn't let her lecherous boss get away with anything. There's some romance, but not too much. It didn't make me want to poke my eyes out with a fork.

The suspense of the identity theft was amazing. Even though the chapters are very short, I just couldn't stop reading last night. This poor woman's credit and reputation was put through the wringer. Chrissy quits her job thinking she has $5000 in the bank to tide her over to the next job and she has an excellent credit rating. By the time the woman who has stolen her identity is done with her, Chrissy is over $90,000 in debt, her bank account has been wiped out, and she's been arrested and forced to spend the night in jail. But Chrissy doesn't give up or give in. She fights back and turns the tables, going after the woman who stole her identity and ruined her life! Not the wisest decision in real life, but it made for great reading.

As I read this, I kept thinking, "This could be me! Someone could do this to me!" It was frightening. Especially since we have our mortgage with Countrywide, whose employee sold our info to multiple sources. So far we're okay and Countrywide is paying for a two year monitoring service on my husband's credit. But not mine—even though both our names are on the mortgage. I'm thinking of using one of the services recommended at the back of Josi's book for me, even if I have to pay for it.

But back to the book—one caution. The bad guy, or rather, the bad woman, really is bad. Josi lets us see into her motivation and her thoughts enough that we understand why she does what she does, but this woman? She is just bad to the core. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say that she is not above killing innocent people in really horrendous ways to get what she wants.

There's a side story with Chrissy's sister that doesn't get fully resolved. She makes the right choice in the end but we don't know if there will be any fall out. Also, we're left hanging at the beginning of Chrissy and Micah's relationship. We're led to assume that everything will end up happily ever after, but there are some issues they'll need to work out. I'm okay with that because that's the mushy stuff I don't like to read about.

I give Her Good Name 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to everyone who enjoys a light suspense, with a couple of PG-rated violent scenes.

You can read a couple of chapters here. And you can buy it online at Deseret Book or at Amazon.


Annette Lyon said...

I agree--this is book is a terrific read. I find it amazing that she can write someone so darn evil and yet understandable at the same time. Makes you shiver. And I'm more paranoid than ever about identity theft now.

(I became paranoid over internet predators after her last book. If I keep reading her, I'll almost certainly end up with major anxiety issues!)

Josi said...

Annette, go pop a xanax if you need to--oh wait, I wrote about that too :-)

Thank you for this review, Karlene, it was very well done and I'm so glad you enjoyed the book, that makes me smile big and wide!

Stephanie Humphreys said...

The more I hear about this book, the more I want to read it. Thanks for posting the review.

Holly said...

I loved this too. It was so good!

Heather B. Moore said...

I loved this book, too, for all the reasons you listed, Karlene. It was just fun to read (and sometimes a little nerve-wracking). In fact, I was at a writers conference and I bought a hot chocolate with my AX card and it was denied. The first thing I thought was--oh no--my identity was stolen like Chrissy. Well, the next purchase it went through just fine.