Review: RONNIE AND RITA by Deborah Sheldon

17847738Ronnie Spooner is middle-aged and single. He’s no-one; a loner who has mowed lawns for a living ever since he was a boy. When he meets Rita, they fall in love, and want nothing more than a family of their own. Too bad it isn’t possible. Or is it? What Rita asks him to do is wrong. Terribly wrong. But compared to the emptiness of Ronnie’s life so far, even wrong seems better than nothing. Acclaimed author Deborah Sheldon takes you on a twisted love story that detours into even darker territory. The things we do for love…

Author Deborah Sheldon has crafted an Aussie noir mixed with the desperation and desire of a romantic recluse and a sinister schemer. Lingering lust and crippling longing propel both Ronnie and Rita into a deep dark place where the flash of a gun barrel is the only source of light at the end of this disturbing tunnel.

Ronnie mows lawns to pay the bills and lives a simple life. Middle-aged, he still sleeps in his boyhood bedroom and lives amongst his deceased parents belongings. Timid and without much of a personal life, Ronnie thinks he’s hit the jackpot when 30-something maid Rita takes a sudden interest. Sparks fly, love is in the air – the two form a relationship at breakneck pace with Ronnie not stopping to second guess this pleasant turn of events.

Rita seems too good to be true; an attractive and unattached young woman who has taken a strong interest in Ronnie – is it love or is Ronnie an easy target?

Thrust into a web of violence and mistrust for the purpose of devising a dysfunctional and inappropriate family dynamic, Ronnie finds himself led by the outlandish and brazen actions of Rita. As time goes by this femme fatale drops the façade to provide Ronnie a mere glimpse of his future – one not bound for the warm sunshine of Queensland, rather the firers of hell.

RONNIE AND RITA is a surprisingly deep novella that includes interesting characters with fractured pasts, heinous acts with disturbing underlying causes, and a linear plot that runs rampant as the pace quickens – all wrapped in a distinctly Australian narrative.

I highly recommend this book for fans of James M Cain, Jim Thompson, and David Goodis.

You may read my interview with the author here.

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