Summary: Brandon Galloway, a 29-year-old nobody with a history of dead-end jobs, lands a position with a pest control company. When he meets 21-year-old wild child Melanie Blaxley while fumigating her apartment for bed bugs, her vulgar sensuality and reckless promiscuity both attract and repulse him. Before long her world of crazy sex and petty crime starts to take its toll on Brandon’s sanity, and he wonders how much more of her he can stand. Then she disappears, and Brandon must find out if it is all just a prank, or if Melanie’s wild ways finally led her into danger. A hair-raising thrill ride through the bars and backstreets of a fictional small town, this fast-paced and darkly funny debut novel explores obsession, fear, and the threat of other people. ~amazon
Review: Poison Shy is darkly disturbing and filled with sex, booze and violence. Our protagonist is 29-year-old Brandon Galloway who was born under a dark cloud. He lives a relatively lonely existence in a crappy job taking care of his bipolar mother. He has no hope, no future.
As a reluctant hero, Brandon was a great character. He was rough around the edges and complacent with his small existence. He was the shining star in the novel, unlike Melanie Blaxley. She was a very unlikable character and one I had a hard time understanding. With such a great plot, I think this novel would have been elevated had Melanie been more kind. I understand she’s supposed to be this “wild child,” but there wasn’t a clear understand of why Brandon was obsessed with her. I found it hard to believe he would take to Melanie as much as he did. As a reader, I didn’t feel any attachment to her. When she went missing, I really didn’t care and I couldn’t believe Brandon cared either.
Honestly, I’m on the fence with this one. I hate to say that about any book because I know the author put her heart in it. This novel reads like a Young Adult novel although it is for adults. It’s a bit elementary, although I think that works in its favor. Ms. Madden’s greatest strengths are she writes character dialog that is spot on and the plot is good as well. Overall, Poison Shy was worth it because Brandon is a solid character.
Final Take: 3/5