⇒ Blog Tour | “What truth she sees, so she flees. Unseen. Insane. Like a raven in the rain.” – Ravens in the Rain: A Noir Love Story by Christie Santo and Jeff Santo ⇐
**Many thanks to BookBaby Books and the authors for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Author: Christie Santo and Jeff Santo
(4.38 stars – Goodreads rating)
Genre: Fiction / Noir / Hard-Boiled Mystery
Publication Date: September 22, 2021, by BookBaby Books
Pages: 248 (Paperback)
Lately, it seems like love is a game where everyone plays dirty.-Ravens in the Rain
Black and white TV. OK, I may have just lost all the millennials, but I do remember a time when there were still black and white movies on TV. Sure, they weren’t first releases when I was watching, but there was a certain magic to them. They were from a different era and I was in the future, peeking in on them with all my omniscient knowledge of color and remote controls and cable boxes. So when you mention “noir” to me, yes, I picture the stylized and cynical characters of classic Hollywood embroiled in some shady mystery – everyone smoking cigarettes in well-cut trench coats and accented English. And I also relate those TV shows and movies to all that black and white magic of a time long past that can still pull you in to those stories no matter which era you claim.
Ravens in the Rain has that kind of magic. Set in modern times, it’s a story that nevertheless gives you all kinds of black and white vibes in both character and setting. Let’s check out the blurb…
Ravens In The Rain is an unconventional noir love story between a woman with a past and a man with no future where love is no fairy tale, fantasy is foreplay, and sex is had on second dates. Carney and Pru, down on luck and down on love, meet over a game of chance, and the mystery of the other’s intentions, compounded by their overwhelming attraction toward each other, compels them into a game of cat and mouse. They ante up and play this game of love or survival that has you wondering who’s the villain and who’s the hero and how it will all play out. When murder is brought to their doorstep the game gets serious. A psychological tale between a poet and a filmmaker that has even the cat wondering if it’s really the mouse, what is real, and who is telling the truth. Is love on the table? Or is it life?
I suggest you get to know each other fast. Love’s the ticket for the next ride.-Ravens in the Rain
As the book opens, we’re immediately dropped into the middle of a story that has already started. We don’t know who we’re meeting or why, but we know that if we don’t pay attention, we’ll miss something vitally important. We meet the main characters, Carney and Pru, and almost immediately we get the feeling that both everything and nothing is right about them getting together. Fate is almost certainly at work here, and all we can do is watch as her little game is played out.
At this point, I have to interject. I know the authors have called this a love story, but I have to give die-hard romance readers a little heads-up here. This is not your typical enemies-to-friends, fake-couple-falls-in-love, blind-date-setup (or whatever common romance trope you’re used to seeing in novels these days) type of book. Sure, there is a theme: Mistrustful man meets woman with secrets and, despite all of his brain’s deep-seated warnings, well… the heart wants what the heart wants. But that theme is wrapped up in the dark, sketchy settings of casinos and nighttime LA streets where anything can and does happen. All it takes is one bad decision – or a string of them – and some pretty bad luck.
He’s always had a little bit of bad luck and bad timing, a shadow away from shining.-Ravens in the Rain
Reading Ravens in the Rain will put you in a different mindset. It reads like a movie script, especially in the first few chapters. You can practically sense the soundstage with all of its looming cameramen and lighting crew just waiting for the director to yell “Cut!” so they can reset. As the story advances, all of that falls into the background as you are engulfed in this couple’s story of troubled togetherness.
As far as characters go, we start out not knowing much about either of them. They are as intentionally mysterious as the events in their past. Chapter after chapter, we are given just a few more morsels here and there that eventually flesh out Carney and Pru, while still leaving them feeling almost as mysterious as when we first meet them. And that feeling only adds to the mystery of the story which is only better because of it.
One thing though, do not read this book thinking that you’re immediately going to be inundated with crazy action and/or an overarching mystery right off the bat. It really is a slow burn, but rightfully so. Pru and Carney are the real story, while the rest of everyone and everything just circulates around them. Now, don’t take that to mean it’s a snooze-fest – there is definitely action and a mystery to be solved as well, but those act as sub-plots to the main characters finding themselves in each other.
See, you’re the creator of your dreams, so rewrite them with better endings.-Ravens in the Rain
Ravens in the Rain will appeal to a reader who is looking for an unconventional love story with characters who harbor a lot of secrets and certainly aren’t your cookie-cutter romantic types. It is a little laggy in the middle, but picks up a lot toward the end. There were definitely some points where I questioned motives and saw easy outs for their predicaments; but, honestly, this couple was born for the drama and because of that, there was no way they would have avoided any of it. The style of the book almost acts as a third main character – moody and just a little bit wild and unpredictable. All the things noir mystery readers really appreciate.
I am grateful to the authors for reaching out to me to be a part of their blog tour, and be sure to pick up a copy of Ravens in the Rain: A Noir Love Story in stores beginning September 22nd, 2021 (and check out the book trailer below)!
Ravens in the Rain is available September 22nd at any of the following retailers:
- Amazon *Books-A-Million *Barnes and Noble * Book Depository *Target *IndieBound
Married over 10-years, Christie & Jeff Santo, lucky in love, never would’ve met if Christie didn’t miss her airplane. Luckier still, when a motorcycle accident almost took their lives, it became the driving force toward their writing career together. Coming from the independent film industry, Jeff has over 25-years of filmmaking experience, directing and writing, with memberships in both the WGA and DGA. And Christie has years of experience in editing, producing, acting, and writing. Christie has her Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing from California State University Long Beach and has freelanced as a ghostwriter for novels. Jeff and Christie are owners of www.SantoFilms.com. They live in Burbank, California with their two Boston Terrier dogs. –Ravensintherain.com