Although I grated against this book ever so slightly for its YA nature, it is never the less a gritty, dark, and very well written outing. I was initially drawn to read it out of curiosity – a teen runaway who winds up addicted to drugs, working in a strip club, and evading her sexually abusive father, all the while looking for love with the woman of her dreams and unraveling a thriller/murder mystery?
It sounded eerily familiar and right down my street. Death Becomes Me could be described in exactly the same nutshell, yet the two are very different books. I found it difficult to set aside my own novel and thoughts of how I should be writing that and concentrate on the merits of this book and what I liked about it. As a result, I think this review is probably a disservice to the novel and I would like to make it clear I had trouble reviewing it for this reason.
Regardless, I was very pleased to find such a well-written novel with such believable, teenage characters. They drink, fuck, swear, do drugs, lie steal and basically do whatever it takes to get by – just like real teenagers. For that reason, and the impeccable writing, I applaud Elizabeth Roderick. I found the murder mystery elements of the novel to be weaker than the rest – it was predictable to me, and didn’t really hold my interest. If anything it got in the way and distracted me from what I really wanted, which was to find out what happened to the characters. Even so this is a solid outing and well worth the read.
The Hustle by Elizabeth Roderick
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: May 31st 2016
Genres: LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance, Thriller
Liria is nineteen, homeless, and addicted to heroin…
She’s also determined to not end up dead—like her mother. But every time she tries to get clean, on her feet, and back on the employment train, everything falls apart. This time is different. This time, she knows there are only two choices—addiction or death. Once she gets clean, though, her life ends up even rockier than before.
Desperate for help, Liria goes to the one person she can count on for a safe place to stay and regular meals—her father, Cyryl Czetski. However, she soon learns Cyryl isn’t her real father, and he wants a very different kind of relationship. Liria ultimately rejects his advances and ends up on the streets yet again, this time working in an illegal strip club.
Finally taking control of her life, Liria lands a job in a Vegas nightclub, where she meets Arty—the woman of her dreams.
Arty is beautiful, funny, and rich. But when other nightclub employees turn up dead—including Liria’s best friend, Lee—Liria suspects the business might be a front for something far more sinister.
When Arty reveals Liria’s life is also in danger, she promises to keep her safe. But Arty’s acting strangely, and seems to know too much about the mysterious deaths. Is she really trying to save her, or is she holding her hostage, using her as a pawn in a game Liria doesn’t understand?
Liria thought she was used to always second guessing everyone’s intentions. That’s how life is. But if the drugs don’t ruin her, The Hustle will…
ELIZABETH RODERICK grew up as a barefoot ruffian on a fruit orchard near Yakima, in the eastern part of Washington State. After weathering the grunge revolution and devolution in Olympia, Washington, Portland, Oregon and Seattle, she recently moved to a small cluster of houses amidst the vineyards of California’s Central Coast.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and worked for many years as a paralegal and translator. She is a musician and songwriter, and has played in many bands, rocking some instruments she doesn’t even know the real names for, but mostly guitar, bass and keyboards.
Elizabeth writes novels for young adults and adults; short stories; and memoir which is way more interesting than it should be. Her stories are about love, death, gang warfare, and madness; her characters tend to be of the type that society generally shuns: addicts, convicts, and the mentally ill. She believes if people get to know these characters in stories and in real life, they’ll find them more likeable than they originally thought.
She applies Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo method to fiction writing. It often gets a little heavier than what she had in mind, but she chalks it up to forced consciousness expansion.