One of my favorite things about Goodreads is when a reader takes the time to post real-time reactions to what’s going on in one of my books as they’re making their way through it.
Here’s a fun example from Katie Sholty, who whipped through “Nikki Blue” earlier this month. Her full review follows her in-progress comments:
03/14 7.0% “This reads like Jasper Fforde.”
03/16 21.0% “RUNAWAY FROM THE CULT THAT’S NOT A CULT BUT IS A CULT. RUNAWAY. NOW. NO CHECK IS WORTH THE CREEP FACTOR.”
03/17 37.0% “Virgil reminds me of televangelist that will swindle you out of everything.”
03/17 50.0% “Nikki has blessedly engaged her journalistic brains … don’t put David in his place… if only briefly.”
03/17 57.0% “Chili’s is now serving awkward reunions.”
03/18 64.0% “I have this sick feeling that it’s going to turn into Waco.”
03/20 87.0% “Madmen and fires go together like peanut butter and jelly.”
03/21 95.0% “WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? Maybe if I say it five more times, Bill won’t do the thing.”
03/21 97.0% “Nikki: Just let me cry.” I feel like my heart has just been put in a blender and thrown out into a compost pile.
I give Nikki Blue a solid 3.5/5.
I normally do not start a series in the middle, but the premise of a young journalist confronting a race to Mars among cultists had me intrigued. I figured I could fill in the missing pieces of the previous book. However, I didn’t need to because Jack Chaucer does a wonderful job of leaving bread crumbs about Nikki’s past throughout the first portion of the book. There’s enough information to build a picture of Nikki thwarting a school shooting plot. These bits of information were a godsend and not redundant play by play summary.
I freely admit to making mistakes in my early 20’s, which is why I gave Nikki some slack. But I still wanted to throttle her for much of the first part of the book. There are mistakes, and then there are the mistakes that will and can ruin you. Get rich quick schemes fall into the latter. Her reasoning to leave her job after only a few days made me set the book down. I couldn’t justify her actions in my head other than The Bridge offered that nice bonus with little work entailed, which sadly speaks to America’s work ethic.
The POV switch in the second half of the book is a bit jarring. I was cozily nestled into Nikki’s POV, and switch took me a bit get into. Roger’s perspective almost felt needless until the end. In a way, it did help show how the Bridge was changing Nikki, but I also found myself speed reading through his chapters. Steve, Nikki’s short lived coworker, came at Nikki with hard hitting questions. I wish he would have kept coming at her so that she could regain her journalistic senses sooner. Steve, even though he had that crush on her, was a voice of reason… a much needed and welcomed voice.
One of my favorite moments happened towards the end between Nikki and Roger. “This is a burning building for me right now… just so you know.” Even through all their years of dysfunction and non-communication, Nikki still finds a way to reach out and ask him for help, and it is in a way that only Roger could interpret. No matter how old you are, you still need your dad sometimes. It was a much needed respite in a sea of chaos.
Random Questions I Have After Reading:
Adam. How did he get a security job after being in prison for a conspiracy to be involved in a school shooting? Security companies tend to frown upon that.
Can we send Nikki’s mom to Mars by herself? The woman needs a Xanax.
Why would you go to Mars when Doctor Who clearly taught us to avoid it all costs?
All in all, Nikki Blue is an intriguing read. It’s fast paced, and makes you see behind that curtain in how religious/political organizations run, and it’ll make you sick and a little crazy.