Praise Her! Praise Diana: Ann Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks
Justice: What’s your definition and how would you define it? Each one of us wants those who inflict us with pain or injury to pay for what they did. But, what is the process or result of following the laws to judge this person and punish their crime is not enough to make them pay for what they did to you? Justice according to the dictionary is the “ the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/justice) However, there are times that impartial justice gets cast aside, laws tabled and someone’s own brand of vigilance takes hold. Diana! Just who is she? Is she a character in a novel or is she someone that is hiding in plain site in front of you? Maggie Edwards needs to finance her own apartment, pay her bills and although her first novel was a huge success it’s time to move on to the next. But, what she creates and why will give readers chills, tingles and leave you cold. Diana real or fictitious is a cold-blooded killer who has taken on the male population making them pay for the abuses they’ve inflicted not only on her but other women too. Receiving a phone from a mysterious caller claiming to be Diana. The words spoken are bone chilling, the implications daunting and the end result will send you right to the next page and on and on until you learn just who this diabolical killer is or maybe you will Praise Her Praise Diana, for her actions!
Chapter 2 begins the novel within the novel as Maggie takes the plunge, writes the story telling readers just why and how Diana came to be attacked, raped, tortured and kidnapped by two men. Hitchhiking can be dangerous and any young girl reading this story and Diana’s account of what she endured will surely learn a serious lesson about the dangers our taking rides from strangers.
Writing her chapters and sharing them with readers, Maggie comes to a serious roadblock when her editor and publisher want to serialize her story in their weekly magazine. But, she has committed the chapter to the New York Portal and Heather Burke, who will stop at nothing to make sure she keeps sending those chapters. One phone call that she cannot ignore and one writer being forced into telling the story of this elusive woman whose goal it is to hand down her own brand of justice to any male who has raped or tortured a woman by taking away the one thing he needs to continue his spree. But, deals are made, publisher and magazine editor in agreement, threats to sue, and then the unthinkable happens. Someone is enacting what Diana has described as Maggie tells her story. Diana or someone who has decided to become Diana has begun sending messages to those involved. Body parts delivered neatly wrapped. Notes and graphic pictures telling their own story to make the public aware of not just her story but also many others come to light as well.
While completing the deal with the publisher and the rogue editor Heather, Maggie’s lawyer and friend Jane Larson both realize that there is more to this story and whomever is doing this has another agenda. Receiving phone calls egging her on and making her realize that she has no other choice but to continue writing this story the author includes several other subplots that bring the issues of spouse, emotional and sexual abuse to light. Making the deal with the Portal created quite a stir. Promising a second novel called Staying There was no longer possible or Maggie’s goal. Interests handled and the next installment being written but not before the author adds in another layer. WPW or Women Protecting Women is a powerful organization that Maggie, Jane and many of her friends sponsor and belong. A special art showing at a gallery called the Iphigenia Gallery in New York would be the center of controversy where a special fundraiser for WPW is being held. Ellen the gallery owner, Sheila, a member, Ari and others would hopefully come together to help raise money for the organization. But, not everyone wants this to go off without a hitch and receiving a package wrapped up in butcher paper lets you know that it’s not a piece of meat from a butcher but someone sending everyone a dark and dangerous message. Read more about Diana in her own words as she winds up leaving NYC finding herself kidnapped in the back of a car but no knowing it at first and being used as a pawn, slave and sex toy for two men. Just how this scene plays out is quite graphic as the authors present the facts in a realistic and colorful way.
Justice comes when you least expect it and all too often you get what you deserve. One young girl would learn the meaning of deceit, lies and deception as Jane Larson has issued an order of protection for her against her husband, but this young girl is weak, naïve as Mariana Morales should have listened to Jane and kept her door locked.
Not everyone believes in the mantra of WPW and other voices are going to be heard as we hear Judith Frazier speaking out countermanding what WPW stands for, telling women to speak out and presenting her point of view. Judith was a victim of abuse by a family member and she never recovered as so many never do. Her friendship with one of the members allows her the latitude to join in some of the meetings, an on air interview and the fundraiser. Clashing with the group and the police does not stop Judith but will anyone stop her or does she know something about Diana that we have not found out?
Jane is living with a photographer named David and from this point on she learns just how little she can trust him sending her into the arms of someone else. Maggie and Jane decide to leave town and spend the weekend in Maggie’s house miles away from New York. Diana was determined to have her story told and now with two deals made the Portal and the new insert in Femme, her story will reach more readers and the end result just might make Maggie famous. But, at what cost and whose?
Not everyone is who they seem and the police come into the picture as we meet Detectives Glaser and Smalley but not before Jane, Judith and Maggie present their viewpoints on air. An interview that will keep you guessing and a story that seems to get better every step of the way as a woman’s group called the Eumenides a feminist group begins to take on their own picture or role of Diana, dressing the way she does and attacking and killing males adding more the violence and giving new meaning to the word Revenge. But, Maggie is pressured and she and Jane need time alone to sort things out as their weekend away turns into more between them. Added in we learn about Jane’s mom Martha who originally ran her firm and whose files the police would like to have but Jane will not share them. Added in one-woman claims to have scene Diana, knows who she is but will not reveal her name. Grand Jury convening, subpoenaed but Maureen will not budge.
Two detectives working hard to find out just who is behind the killings yet no one willing to tell. Added in we hear the voices of two cops, that have gone bad causing one woman to disappear after having a night of folly the one man’s girlfriend. The issue of sexual abuse and emotional abuse comes out very strong as we learn more about Jane and her own demons that she has to bear. But, not everyone wants this solved and someone has decided to take out one of the detectives but why? What is behind this killing? Is it Diana or someone else? Why do the authors say at the start that Marissa is dead? Who is Marissa and what part does she play, as she is the character in Getting There Maggie’s first novel.
Authors Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks have created a top notch novel filled with graphic scenes, characters that are well crafted who present their viewpoints in their own way as if they are speaking to the audience reading and hearing their story and in Diana’s own words to understand or try to understand why? When truths come out and lies unfold just who Diana’s and why she has enacted her own form of vengeance might not startle, shock or surprise readers. Just what is Maggie’s secret and what is her connection to Diana? A final protest will reveal it all and the end will make you wonder just how far someone will go to avenge a death! Just how far will someone go for Justice? Secrets, lies, betrayals, deceptions and no one are safe? Who deserves to die? Which man gets what he deserves? Why would Diana go after a woman? Role reversals are quite apparent as men are now on the you might say chopping block and being held accountable for their taunts, actions and abuse of women? But, should all of them suffer? Stereotyping is definitely brought to light in both the men and women characters within this complex novel. Praise Her! Praise Diana! What do you think? Should we? Just who you won’t believe!
The authors provide a great forum for discussion on each of the issues brought to light within this five star novel.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer