Murder Mystery Set in Transgender Community “Brings It”

This is a review straight from the heart of a reader, me (as opposed to  the editor, the marketer, the reviewer, the writer) ~~ Janet Green

First, the basics.  Renee James debuted with her new novel Coming Out Can Be Murder this month through Windy City Publishers, a hot alternative publishing company based in the same blustery city of the story’s plot.  This is a fiction novel about a hairdresser named Bobbi, who struggles with gender transitioning and the “fitting in” that does or does not happen as a result.  A friend of hers undergoing similar struggles is murdered, and Bobbi determines through her own cunning to bring the murderer to justice and, along the way, draws out from within herself a stunning essence that she had yet to truly know. End, the basics.

Unbeknownst to Renee James at the time, this topic of the transgender community will soon come into play under the masterful touch of Miss Janet Jackson, who plans a film to help build awareness and understanding of this generally misunderstood population (see article from Rolling Stone magazine).

Surely the coincidence is anything but.

I spent a good deal of time, as I always do, trying to write this review from a professional perspective, and time and time again came back to what I emailed  the author through her website:  reneejamesauthor.com.  I will share it here now:

“Subject: Finished your novel. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read, in a great way. Certain terminology, such as tranny, I think it was — had no idea these were considered negative terms, even though I could feel that they were through your character Bobbi.  Your open-hearted summary at the end of the story was beautiful, peaceful, helpful to me as a reader. I adored Bobbi, oh!, and her boss at the salon. I have felt the type of pain Bobbi felt . . . we all have (alienation from family for differences, fear of the unknown, the loneliness of walking to a different beat), and I know it’s real.  I loved Bobbi.”

… and I will add more now:  I cheered for Bobbi every minute!  Sometimes I wanted to knock her out with her second-guessing herself all the time.  Sometimes I just wanted to hold her so she would not be afraid.  She was inspirational and an open-book within an open book.

Miss Jackson sings in her 1986 popular tune,  “What Have You Done for Me Lately?”  As a reader, honestly, that’s what I think about when I read today:  give me something more than the same ol’ same ol’.  Give me more, give me better, give me talent and innovation.  Well, Renee James gives her readers all that and more. She treats us to her very soul in this book, filled with entertainment, education about heretofore misunderstood topics, and all those marvelous tidbits of Bobbi-introspection.

Renee James gave her readers what I personally have been looking for from authors today:  a change.

~~Reader, Janet Green

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