This review caused me a bit of consternation. There’re a certain amount of adult situations that are also plot points that could be described as “spoilers.” So, I struggled to figure out how to discuss an intense thriller without ruining the book for other readers. Granted, it’s been out for awhile now, but you might not have heard of this book and you deserve to read it unspoiled.
Really. J.L. Michaels’ Roller Skate Skinny isthat good.
First of all, the protagonist Delilah is a bit of a head case. She needs therapy even before the events in the book. She really needs therapy, and probably medication, during the course of the book.
Immediately, the book starts with a tension-filled situation. Delilah is in a car with a male driver. The reader is not introduced to who the driver is; he is only referred to as “my partner” by Delilah. She is battered and emotionally ravaged. As they drive, they approach a police checkpoint. While we are never given the specifics of why this causes Delilah further anxiety, she is worried about the police finding whatever is in the trunk.
And then the story starts. Delilah’s mom has recently died and Delilah’s on her way to the reading of the will. Her mom didn’t remember Delilah’s name and writes, instead, Deliah in her will. At the same time, Delilah and her husband, Ian, is in a strained marriage. Delilah is unable to talk to Ian about the dysfunction in her family, nor is she able to discuss the abuse she endured as a child at the hands of her father. Their marriage is further strained when Delilah catches Ian watching porn at night. She promptly throws him out.
And then Delilah is assaulted by a co-worker in the parking lot of a local bar. That’s just in the first half of the novel.
Michaels creates a tense, gripping thriller. Yeah, I know “tense, gripping thriller” sounds cliched. But it’s true. The pacing is thoughtful and deliberate. We’re given the time to sympathize with Delilah, but just when we think Delilah might be on a path of recovery, something else happens to pull the rug out from under her and us, the readers.
I really feel for Delilah, even as she engages in a path of self-destructive, and just plain destructive, behavior.
And there are a couple of deaths in here that are truly shocking.
There’s also a nice reference to Catcher in the Rye. It’s brief, but it’s there.
At the end of the day, it’s a good read worth making a cup of tea for. Or hot chocolate. Or wine.
You know. Whatever.
Also, what’s your favorite thriller or suspense novel? Let me know in the comments below. I might even go forth and read it.
With that, I hope you go forth and read J.L. Michaels Roller Skate Skinny.
Matthew Reed is host of Matt Reviews Books on YouTube (youtube.com/mattreviewsbooks). You can watch his video review here.