I’m not sure what drew me to buy this book. Perhaps the cover, which is great, the title, which I wish I would have thought of, and the price, $1.99. Also, I’d never read anything by the author, or bought a book from Red Rose Press. Here is the link to buy Sanctified.
I’ll start with the good stuff: this is a charming, moody, different read. The Irish Catholic in me identified with the Latino Catholic theme. Ms. Strauss is very talented, a whiz at description. I thought I was having another hot flash as she described the sweltering lower-class apartment. The characters: only two, as befits a work of this length (28 pages). Moira is likeable, a little quirky, and one might even imagine that this work is a trifle autobiographical. Diego is hot, and it’s not just the dog days of summer. He’s an Iraqi War vet, with the wounds (internal and external) commemorating his wartime experience. He is especially believable, and incredibly appealing. Hard to do in a book of this length.
So, five big fat rosary beads for creativity, finesse, description, characterization, and originality.
Subtract one half rosary bead for the following: Unfortunately, a few line edit marks were left in the final PDF. It just doesn’t look good, and while I understand how these things happen (boy, do I ever), it’s very distracting and doesn’t do the story justice. There are some other editorial glitches, too many dangling participles, etc., but if I weren’t writing myself, I’d probably not notice them. So nothing off for that. I wish Ms. Strauss could have woven the backstory of the Virgin of Guadalupe in a bit more fluidly (it felt pushed in there), but I was still intrigued by her use of this theme. Finally, I didn’t think the book needed a sex scene, although this was a good one. The story is hot and charming without it, with a little holy thread running through it. This turned it into a bit of a Madonna/whore thing LOL.
Okay, so the final recommendation: what else can you do for $1.99 that will take you into another place fully for an hour? Congrats, Ms. Strauss, I can’t wait to watch what you do next. You have a great imagination, an intriguing, real voice, and I’m jealous.