Alright… are you ready for a strange one? Visiting Lilly by Toni Allen was provided to me in exchange for a review and though it started out slow, I’m REALLY glad I stuck with it. [goodreads]
Jake Talbot is a lonely, depressed cop with little to live for except his precious antiques and his job as an investigator. When the complaints of a rich man are brought to his attention, Jake is drawn into a feud that spans lifetimes. Frankie Hayward just wants to see the love of his life, Lilly, only hitch is… he’s never met the elderly woman and he’s a young man. Intrigued by the rich man’s quick anger and Frankie’s seemingly innocent love for a stranger, Talbot dives into the case for better or worse.
Both men, Jake and Frankie, are beautifully written. Each have flaws that bring their lofty storyline back firmly into reality while still enticing the reader to continue reading. Each man has his own unique dialogue and is written distinctly different from each other yet they are both masterfully woven together. The story has a handful of support characters, each with just enough history to them to prove their point but not to overburden the reader with superfluous details.
Just like in a typical Noir film or book, Jake is moody, brooding, smokes and drinks far too much, but somehow still seems to have the right amount of heart. Frankie is the silly sidekick all the way, his… quirks lend him to the comic and emotional relief needed throughout the story. Finding the damsel in distress in Visiting Lilly will prove a little more challenging. None of the women truly fall into that category, and as a champion of strong women, I was glad for the lack of weak ones, they weren’t needed anyway.
The story had a slow start for me, a typical cop novel, protocols, and little to no mystery, but once I read a bit further in I was hooked. The paranormal aspects were real, and I was relieved to see how they were handled later in the story’s end. Every time I thought I knew something, another detail was thrown at me and I found myself smiling and reading faster. Truly a gem.