TIME OFF FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR
Wanda Lane has problems. And not just run-in-your-pantyhose, car-won't-start, already-late-to-work problems.
While testifying against a former employer, Wanda takes a swing at a badgering attorney and ends up bonking her head, landing in a five-day coma. As a result, she gets fired from her new job and begins hearing phantom music in her head. To make matters worse, her sadistic, abusive ex-husband, who's been in Alaska, has promised to come to Tennessee and "slit her throat."
A silver lining comes in the form of nice-guy attorney Walter Briggs, who sees Wanda in the hospital and begins watching out for her. Wanda, whose family and friends were driven away while she was with her ex-husband, also finds a friend in a straight-shooting therapist Elizabeth. With Elizabeth's help, she decides it's time to put her butt in gear and figure out what she really wants out of life. But will writing out her goals on an armada of sticky notes truly help Wanda find direction, forgiveness and real love?
Impulsive, foul-mouthed, quirky Wanda is a breath of fresh air. This chick may be neurotic, but she's no doormat. Debut author Rich deftly rafts an unpredictable plot that charts Wanda's emotional growth without letting the character lose her edge. (Upon seeing a pregnant friend, caustic Wanda offers, "Me, just looking at a pregnant woman made my back ache. I'll be buying little girls from China, thanks.") The novel's freshness and humor prove this author is one to watch. (Oct., 245 pp., $12.95)