3 out of 4 stars
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B-Side, written by Janis Jones, has been adapted from a screenplay by her and Jason Rohan. The well-crafted story is an absorbing police drama focusing more on the relationships in Mara’s life than the investigation.
Casey Terranova, a beautiful bartender/artist, and Mara Bays, a homicide detective, are a lesbian couple. On their anniversary, a massive bouquet arrives at Casey’s house. When she opens the door, the delivery person attacks her, nearly beating her to death. Mara arrives half an hour later and tries to force her way into the house, past the police officers blocking the way. She finds a brick wall in the person of Detective Derek Jenssen, Mara’s work partner and superior, who forces her to stop.
After several weeks, the officers in charge of the assault case had made no headway. Derek uses his position to get a briefing on the case’s status, and Mara attends. They learn the detectives, who claim to be overworked, have put Casey’s case on the back burner. Within the evidence, Mara finds a promising clue; a gift card contained in the flowers that the assailant used to gain entry into the house. She follows the path provided by the card in search of the truth behind the assault.
B-Side has an interesting plot and good characterization but in places is written with odd wording that appears to be leftovers from the original screenplay, nothing that ruins the story, just distracting. For instance, Chapter 13 begins with: “A private home-care facility and hospice on a quiet street in Silver Lake. It’s an old, beautifully-kept Mediterranean house, white with Spanish tiles and a small, tidy front yard.”
I liked the relationship between Casey and Mara, though, in places, it seemed a bit unrealistic or too perfect. Even the big argument they have feels staged, not real. The working relationship between Mara and Derek had a realistic feel, especially with how they were supportive of one another, both on and off the job.
I did not like the rampant sexism exhibited by the police officers who were in charge of investigating the assault on Casey. While it might be a realistic depiction of people wallowing in their personality flaws, it was over the top. My biggest issue with B-Side however, is the amount of backstory included. I found the story flow disrupted by the narrative bouncing back and forth in time.
I rate B-Side 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend this for anyone that likes mysteries and delights in having a plot twist or two to shake them at the end.
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