Bear with me while I toot my own horn for the next several paragraphs.
I hesitantly sent my first novel to Kirkus Reviews several months ago. Kirkus is a highly regarded review organization that charges to provide you with an unbiased opinion about your book. Sometimes they love it. Other times not so much.
A best-selling author I know has described Kirkus as “mean.” I agreed with her when the review came through on my latest book, Deadly Winds. The reviewer didn’t care for my treatment of a millennial, saying he was put in the novel so that the old folks would have someone to pick on.
That’s all history now. I have received the review of Leslie’s Voice, published about eight years ago as Six Weeks From Tuesday and rewritten during the Pandemic with the name change. They liked it. A lot.
The story is about public relations expert Leslie Elliott and is the “prequel” to the mystery series set in Florida. In this first novel, set in the midwest, Leslie is trying to adapt to her new CEO, Brad Stewart, when he tells her of his plans to take over the neighboring electric utility and make himself the state’s energy kingpin. When she agrees to join the battle, Leslie finds herself dealing with the twists and turns of corporate intrigue while struggling to handle the men in her life, including her boss, whose sexual aggression matches his business ambition.
Kirkus said the novel is: “A rousing corporate melodrama full of twists, turns and vivid characters.” And called it “an auspicious start for an adventurous, creative author.”
Suddenly they don’t seem so mean anymore. Right?
Skipping their commentary on the storyline, which can be seen on my Kirkus Reviews page at Kirkus.com, here is what they wrote:
“As the situation unspools, it becomes clear that the crux of Hanafee’s novel lies in power dynamics, as the narrative cleverly addresses hot-button issues of sexual harassment on the job. Leslie becomes uncomfortable around her new boss, allowing his inappropriate behavior to intimidate her while neglecting to report it. She needs her job and initially finds Brad alluring, so she makes excuses and allowances that, in turn, proliferate the abuse.
“Leslie’s inner monologue reveals that she is tiring of the terse treatment from the men in her life and the double standards in the corporate arena and that she has been working to ‘find the voice to respond’ to the treatment she’s had to endure.
“A minor weakness of the novel is the unevenly portrayed peripheral characters, such as Leslie’s college-age daughter, Meredith, who is enticingly drawn but sparsely appears in a narrowly focused narrative that could use some opening up. Readers may also want more of Leslie’s charismatic best friend, Karen Chanders, who adds some feisty spice to the melodrama.
“Despite this, the lead characters are memorable and provide the needed grounding this busy plot requires. With Leslie as an anchoring, empowering element, former Indianapolis Star reporter Hanafee’s novel is a fast-paced, intense depiction of corporate America and the perennial struggle of women seeking equal treatment in the boardroom. This is an auspicious start for an adventurous, creative author.”
Grab a copy and have some fun.