Scarlet Rose, the once remarkably beautiful, queen of the burlesque scene in 1960s Toronto, has aged into a decrepit bitter alcoholic, living on welfare and her daughter’s handouts—a daughter she forced into the adult entertainment industry at the age of sixteen to support the family. Now in 1983, Scarlet’s wealthy ex-husband has been found tortured and murdered in a hotel room, and her twenty-two-year-old daughter Fiona, must help the police find the killer.
While Fiona navigates her way through the dark recesses of her family’s history, uncovering shocking secrets that threaten to destroy her, Scarlet Rose employs the skills she learns in Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War, fixating on making a new life for herself using other people’s money. But when she befriends a lonely American woman sitting on an inheritance, greed that knows no bounds, cold-blooded murder and identity theft, might just prove to be Scarlet’s undoing.
I was first pointed in the direction of Julia Madeleine by a certain Paul D. Brazil, and this is one of many things that I must give thanks to him for. Julia’s entry in his Drunk on The Moon Series was one of my highlights of the ongoing tales of the werewolf PI.
There is a long held belief in genre fiction that there are no strong female characters, well with The Truth About Scarlet Rose takes that belief and knocks seven shades of hell out of it. Julia has created two excellent, fully formed and lifelike characters in the bitter twisted and downright detestable Scarlet Rose, and her much more likeable daughter Fiona.
This is a dark, seedy, twisted and thrilling novel, Julia is a writer of exceptional talent, you will be swept along in an almost epic battle to see who will come out on top, the bitter and totally reprehensible Scarlet, or the honest and more human Fiona. Yes you will be rooting for Fiona, but you will also be captivated by the despicable and hate filled Scarlet a woman who will stop at nothing to get ant she wants, and keep it.
This is a dark novel, succeeds at being a great thriller, but also succeeds at being a great story about morals, life and family. You really need to pick this book up, Julia is a fantastic writer.
8.5 out of 10