ONE JADED ROSE pairs a plucky but hard-luck entrepreneur, Rose Palmer, with a debonair man of mystery, Nic Thorn, and places them into a series of multilayered capers. Author James Byron sets up in Australia, where the protagonists bounce around Brisbane and Adelaide executing intricate plans with effortless guile, shot through with witty repartee. The story starts as Rose anxiously awaits her plus-one she picked from the dating app, Vita Brevis. When a Mustang arrives and the intriguing Nic pops out, Rose immediately has second thoughts since she sought a quiet, conservative type. There was a funeral to attend after all. Nic proves himself capable when the funeral and reading of the will for her shop’s late benefactor goes swimmingly.
Rose and Nic bond, and in that short time Nic reveals himself to be both well-connected and enigmatic. Nic then turns the tables and asks Rose if she can help him carry out an odd plan, an offer she accepts. A diversion occurs at the Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art that involves a pond, college boys and a quick escape. Success in that escapade leads to another, now moving to Adelaide with a new recruit, Sandy, Rose’s friend and roommate. ONE JADED ROSE heightens the stakes for this newly appointed team as they scheme to ensnare scammers intent on pursuing illicit purchases of U.S. military Humvees. For this next caper, Rose and Sandy embark to an auto show and are given the roles of corporate executives, with Nic as their assistant, which they pull off with aplomb. This sting involves the core group, other operatives, U.S. military personnel and Australian police in an elaborate game of deception. Although the group relies on some high-tech sleuthing, old-fashioned gumshoe detection and astute observation remains vital to their work. In the end, Rose and Nic aim to grab the crooks and get more than they expected.
ONE JADED ROSE is a high-tempo adventure–replete with elaborate scheming and snappy banter–with Australia’s high society as backdrop in this breezy tale by James Byron.
~Kai Olson-Sawyer for IndieReader