Potholes by J. Alana Giresi is a cute second-change romance with a very loyal best friend and a twist that took me completely by surprise. There is a lot that I like about Potholes and a few things that didn't quite work for me--of course that is true of a lot of stories.
I was drawn to the premise of the story and the initial excerpt as soon as I read it. Anyone who lives north of the Mason-Dixon line knows what a hazard the many potholes are especially after a brutal winter. Jill Singleton is already feeling down after her cheating husband left her, the job she loves changes to one she hates and then as she attempts to miss a pothole she accidentally cuts off a psycho who begins stalking her.
Jill does the right thing and reports the nut-job to the police. Unfortunately, they can’t do anything with the information she has at this point because he hasn’t hurt with anything but words.
Wouldn’t you know it “Blondie” as she calls the stalker, has a work schedule close to Jill’s so the road rage continues until nut-job shows up at her house one day threatening to kill her. Jokes on him though because Jill has a gun and knows how to use. Enter best friend Karen who is willing to help her hide the body, Jill’s Uncle Carlo and an old friend George who she hasn’t seen in years also come to her aid. Now for the rest of the story.
What I like:
The basic premise of the story is cute and one many of us envision or wish we could carry out in our life. For the most part the story progresses at a steady pace and keeps me turning the page. I like the humorous sections, especially with Karen who believes pizza and vodka will solve any problem (I can’t say I disagree) and Karen’s willingness to help Jill hide the body. She steps up to the plate when Jill needs her and takes over. She gets all the right people in place, and prepares the body for disposal. Who doesn’t need a friend like that?
I like Jill. She is older, more mature (mostly) with a career. It is enjoyable to read about a divorcee who is moving on and making a new life for herself. There is a great scene that many of us would love to have on occasion when Jill tells her boss off. I gave her a big high-five on that one. Jill does get a little skittish on occasion but who wouldn’t after a murder.
George, the old crush is a sweet character. For one reason or another these two never got together in the past. They have other commitments or job opportunities, etc. but they always know it is a mistake to ignore the attraction. Now twenty years later they get to explore what might be a good relationship for them both. Their problem is only a little murder holding them apart now.
I like the twist. I can’t say anymore because it will spoil the story. What I can share is that the twist helps me relax.
What I didn’t quite work for me:
Jill and George are good characters and would be great with a little more character development. I understand their reasons for not making a move earlier in their life but their present-day dialog didn’t convince me that they really wanted something back in the day. Don’t get me wrong it is good just not as intense as it could be.
It is the middle of the story when George and Jill are making their move, finally after years of ignoring their attraction, the story slows down for me. I didn’t feel their chemistry. I like both characters and they really hit the spot at the end. It would be nice to have a little more spice, and, while I get that a little is explained at the end, if drags and I’m not convinced.
Potholes is a good way to spend a lazy Sunday. The book is a very quick read that is sweet and entertaining. Some days you need something to make you laugh for a time and not think about your bad day and problems. Potholes will do that for you. I haven’t read any other books by J. Alan Giresi. What I learned reading Potholes is that she can tell a good story and there is enough substance here to make me keep an eye out for her other works. Nicely done!