Seven Suspects: Renee James
Individuality is what makes you unique. No two people are the same even twins have their own differences. But, sometimes there are people that just want to be accepted for who they are even if they have different views on subjects that most people or even readers might shy away from. Bobbi Logan is a transgender with a heart of gold and just wants to help people and hopes they will care about her. Owner and operator of L’Elegance an upscale salon the prices are fair and the ambiance is fairy-tale like and the clients are rich, sexy and definitely high end. Non-traditional clients at a reduced rate for some and a salon that they can afford. People from all over including shelters come to her salon. Bobbi has had a difficult time after being raped, abused and making poor choices when it comes to men in the past and you will learn in the present too. Strong willed, able to defend herself does not preclude her from having feelings and being hurt. Cecelia is her best friend and the one person who tells it like it is and is honest with her to a fault. But someone does not want her to succeed and bad things are about to happen but are it because she is a transgender or is it about something else? Someone vandalizes her salon, someone breaks into her apartment and someone is stalking her but who and why? Things take on many different turns as her niece Roberta as she wants to be called has to stay with her so her mother can go away with her latest boyfriend. But, a confrontation with a past operator and her boyfriend alerts Bobbi that something might happen when he threatened her if Cindy is not rehired. Always checking her back and making sure that she’s not being followed at times she seems paranoid. But, even her niece feels the strain of having an aunt that’s a transgender as her friend’s remarks can be hurtful. This story deals with accepting the fact that there are many women and men that feel uncomfortable in the body that they were given at birth and to live their life as either a man or woman and not happy with their gender does not mean they have to live it the traditional way. Choices are made and the scenes are graphic at times and the men and Bobbi relate their feels, their wants and needs to the reader and it’s up to you to decide if you can handle it or not. Jalela seems to be the one operator that Bobbi trusts and often leaves in charge of the shop making others angry or jealous. Bobbi often feels threatened and her past comes shining back but when she feels threatened, stalked or vulnerable she takes action on her own even though her last boyfriend was Phil a cop who has her back all the time and all she has to do is ask and he’ be there for her. Feelings are expressed at one time between the two of them and his thoughts about her being a transgender which has him confused about how he feels about her and whether they will ever reunite and reconnect. Someone is out to get her and things get more dangerous and violent and although Roberta dislikes her mother’s parents and Bobbi refers to them as Mr. and Mrs. Hitler, mainly the grandfather, she has to send her to stay with them for longer than the weekend they requested but poor Roberta is not happy. Phil, working as a cop in Chicago and her best friend Cecelia who is a retired investment banker are there every step of the way as they support her after becoming Bobbi a woman and understand her fear when her salon is trashed and her home invaded. Thinking about whom it might be the author introduces us one at time to six men that are likely suspects. Fixated on numerology and having only six suspects at first she realizes that there is something about the rule of seven.
Bobbi is our narrator and guides us through her dates, her intimate experiences, her thoughts, hopes and fears as she helps readers understand what a transgender’s life is and how she faces prejudice, shunning, abuse both verbal and sexual and discord.
.Mark is someone she meets who turns out to be as you the reader will realize self-absorbed, a moral, belligerent, unfeeling and worried about pleasuring himself and wanted to date her for the sake of saying he slept with a transy as he puts it. Is he the stalker as she approaches people in his building and he comes at her with both barrels and she needs to find a way to fend him off. Then suspect two is Victor Grassi who is angry and bitter and blames her for his downfall. Getting his life back she thinks he might be the stalker. Next the boyfriend Greco who stalked her only to make his girlfriend feel better and if he was going to hurt her he would have done it already. Is he playing a sick game? Next Lover Boy whose male ego was crushed and that might be enough for him to go after her but why? Andive is next but when you meet him he’s in the hospital with Aides and he’s no longer a suspect but what about Albert who owns a security company and wants to thank her for visiting his uncle in the hospital? What about Joey who makes as Bobbi relates cops and public defenders give up on humanity. Bobbi takes it upon herself to question and interview each of the suspects putting herself in danger and leaving herself wide open for the police to arrest her at times but each time she realizes that these people are lonely, helpless and just want to be left alone and be themselves. So, who is trying to take her down? The scenes with her niece Roberta are priceless as this child defends and loves her aunt even though her mother seems totally stuck on Alex until she’s not. Child first and him after if he cannot accept Roberta and realize that she is in danger when she learns what is happening to her sister he is history.
The author through Bobbi allows readers to understand what a transgender’s life is and how they are just trying to live their lives in the new skin they are in. Phil really cares for Bobbi but when Bobbi is kidnapped, raped, abused and beaten by one of the stalkers will anyone find her in time before it’s too late? Who is the stalker and will this person be caught and what was the reason this person went after her and why? But, the ending will let you know that someone else might still be out there and Bobbi might have to continue to watch her back. A tense ending filled with graphic descriptions of a killer’s mind and actions as Bobbi Logan fights for her life and has to find a way to defend herself against one of the Seven Suspects. Interesting story, definitely worth the read and a character with strength, hope and the will to survive even with the odds often against her.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine
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