Flicker and Burn by T. M. Goeglein
Guest Review by Kari
copy sent for review, but all opinions are our own
Official Summary: Sara Jane Rispoli is still searching for her missing family, but instead of fighting off a turncoat uncle and crooked cops, this time she finds herself on the run from creepy beings with red, pulsing eyes and pale white skin chasing her through the streets in ice cream trucks; they can only be described as Ice Cream Creatures. They're terrifying and hell bent on killing her, but they're also a link to her family, a clue to where they might be and who has them. While she battles these new pursuers, she's also discovering more about her own cold fury and more about the Chicago Outfit, how the past misdeeds--old murders and vendettas--might just be connected to her present and the disappearance of her family. But connecting the dots is tough and time-consuming and may finally be the undoing of her relationship with the handsome Max--who's now her boyfriend. But for his own safety, Sara Jane may have to end this relationship before it even really starts. Her pursuers who've shown her her mother's amputated finger and the head of the Chicago Outfit who's just whistled her in for a sit-down make a romance unthinkable. The only thing that matters is finding her family and keeping everyone she loves alive.
Review: Flicker and Burn, the second novel of the Cold Fury series, starts off a few months after we last saw Sara Jane Rispoli. Sara Jane knows her family is still alive, but it’s been four months since she has last seen them. She still has the notebook and now that her friend, Doug, knows about what happened, she feels like she has a better chance at finding her family. Sara Jane may have someone to help her with clues, but she is still substituting for her father as Counselor-at-Large for the Chicago Outfit (Chicago’s mob) and things get more complicated when the leader of the Outfit wants to speak to her. She now has to get information for the boss and still deal with everything else in her life.
To make matters worse, she’s being chased by ice cream trucks driven by creatures with red eyes and white skin. They want to capture her and gather blood from her brain (the source of her cold fury power). Sara Jane knows they may have something to do with her family missing and is trying to find out what she can about them. So now, she has to keep her family missing a secret, make sure the Outfit doesn’t know her father isn’t sick, and try to stay away from the ice cream creatures.
T. M. Goeglein doesn’t disappoint in the second novel. It is filled with action throughout the entire book. He introduces more obstacles for Sara Jane to face when her cold fury starts to develop. When she is fighting for her life against the ice cream creatures, she starts to have the urge to kill. It doesn’t help that she seems to give off an electric shock when she gets angry. The stakes seem to be higher in this book because Sara Jane’s personality starts to change. She starts to make sacrifices that she might otherwise not have taken a few months ago. One of which is Doug’s own safety.
Readers also start to learn more about Sara Jane’s family. She starts to realize that her family did not just help the Outfit solve disputes, but they may have been a part of some horrible murders. Another surprise that she learns about her family is that she has a great uncle, aunt, and cousin that live in California. Things get tricky for Sara Jane when they show up in Chicago. She now has to try to keep them unaware of her situation too. After she meets her cousin, Heather, she discovers that she is not the only girl in the family to have cold fury, but Heather’s version is very different, which causes some very interesting events to happen.This novel is filled with secrets, action, fights, murder, and a very interesting ice cream club. Readers of Cold Fury will not be disappointed. They will fly through this book and enjoy every minute of it. More background is revealed in this novel and once you get to the end you’ll be wanting more.
Interview by Kari
1) How did you come up with the idea of cold fury and the powers associated with it?
There once was a very bad guy associated with Chicago organized crime named Johnny Roselli whose job was, as the Godfather once said, to make offers that people couldn’t refuse. To do this, he developed something he called ‘the look.’ He’d intimidate his victims by staring at them with his cold, unblinking blue eyes and threaten them in a way that made them obey. The fact that he was carrying a gun and backed up by huge thugs ready to break someone’s knees probably didn’t hurt.
2) What made you interested in writing a book about the Chicago mob?
Living in Chicago, you can’t get away from our mob, called the Outfit. It’s ingrained in everything – the city’s history, government, businesses, you name it. Everyone seems to someone who knows someone in the Outfit.
3) Why did you choose a female as the main character?
One reason – because the Chicago Outfit is, and has always been, male-centric. No women allowed. And I thought it would be cool to see what happened when a super strong, kick-ass young woman infiltrated the ranks and started telling them what to do.
4) Did you get any backlash when readers realized there seemed to be a supernatural element to the story?
Ah ha – you said the magic words – ‘seemed to be.’ The truth is revealed in FLICKER & BURN. But to answer the question, nope, not really. Readers went with it in the same way, I think, that they go with a Stephen King novel when he incorporates all kind of elements into one fast moving, creepy tale.
5) Are you working on any new books?
I am. It’s a rough idea set in Chicago again, with crime elements involved. Very secretive. That’s all I can say.
6) What types of books do you like to read?
I read a lot of everything. Looking at my desk right now, there’s a book about the history of Venice, Every Day by David Levithan, something about the Spanish Inquisition called God’s Jury, Joe Torre’s autobiography, and a workbook, halfway filled in, called the Easy Italian Reader. I’m exhausted just listing all of that stuff.