A ROCKY DIVORCE: like a debutante ball but with pot dealers and fetishes

When an abrupt divorce leaves her with nothing but a high alcohol tolerance and a keen talent for observation, quick-witted Raquel “Rocky” Champagnolle does the unthinkable. She joins the freakin’ Texarkana Junior League. The Junior League gives Rocky endless opportunities to drink with blonde women named Brittany (at least that’s what Rocky calls them) and to make fun of Texarkana’s wealthy elite. Rocky comes up with a winning philanthropic venture for the ladies, but the matriarch Waverly St. Laurent insults her weight, engaging every petty bone in Rocky’s body. Someone is breaking into the homes of the city’s richest citizens, and Rocky could help but now she doesn’t want to. But when Waverly mistakes her husband for the man who has been terrorizing her peers and accidentally shoots him dead, Rocky has all the incentive she needs to get involved. Especially when she suspects the crime wave is tied to a series of decades-old murders.

This book, y’all. I can honestly say it’s like nothing I’ve ever read before, and I’ve read a ton a books. It’s hilarious from page one, with a take-no-shit protagonist who is equally comfortable teaching a room full of young children as she is sitting in a bar with old cops. Her Junior League adventure takes her out of her comfort zone, but she finds a way to make the situation her bitch. I found Rocky relatable on more levels than I care to admit publicly. But I lack her curves and sleuthing skills.

Coleman’s signature steady action pace is fully present, along with fantastic one-liners and well-rounded characters that would feel like clichés in less-skilled hands. A ROCKY DIVORCE is a hilarious page-turner with a protagonist that you’ll want to make your best friend, because you wouldn’t want her for an enemy.

GRAFFITI CREEK: punk rock pacing and compelling characters

Cary Trubody is pulled over for running a red light late one night with her drunk girlfriend and a purse full of cash in the car. This is a frightening set-up under any circumstances. But within minutes, the traffic stop turns into a nightmare of mistaken identity. Cary is shoved into a car with two crooked detectives, and her girlfriend is taken away in a different car. The protagonist quickly shows us what she’s made of by gathering her wits and escaping. But this is just the beginning of Cary’s ordeal, as she soon learns that she’s been framed for two murders and every cop (especially every dirty one) in town is looking for her. And she has no idea where they took her girlfriend.

Meanwhile, Sameer Zardari is searching for his journalist husband who’s been missing for days. And Marlowe Holliverse is searching for his budding documentary film-maker brother, DoRight.  Both men are on a fast-moving collision course with Cary, and all three are uncertain of whom they can trust. 

GRAFFITI CREEK is paced like a punk rock song. Cary’s life is in danger from the jump and things get worse from there. She’s not former special ops or a trained assassin or even a concealed carrier. She’s just a regular civilian with a curvy figure and a talent for poker. 

Even though the pacing is nonstop, the mystery unfolds slowly. The stakes continue to rise as Cary runs for her life while trying to piece together the events that have put her in the line of fire. If she doesn’t figure out why she’s suddenly a fugitive, she’ll die. And she won’t be the only one. 

In GRAFFITI CREEK and his debut novel JUGGLING KITTENS, Coleman exhibits genius with atmosphere and wit, as well as championing the average person in extraordinary circumstances. Just don’t start GRAFFITI CREEK at bedtime unless you have nothing to do the next day.