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Review: The Janes, by Louisa Luna

Hey, Internet friends! Wow, it's been a hot minute, hasn't it?

Apologies if you've missed me fiercely - it's been a bit of a month in which I basically just read, spent time with family, and played with a dog. I'm sure you'll forgive me for prioritizing that over getting you regular book reviews and recommendations (I hope you will, at least).

Anyway, I am now back for a quick-fire review of The Janes, by Louisa Luna. This is the second book in her Alice Vega series (and I have to confess I barely remember the first book, Two Girls Down, which I definitely read while I was doing my master's; that might be why I don't remember it that much). The story finds Alice Vega, all-round fierce badass bitch PI, and her partner Max Caplan, trying to solve the murder of two Jane Does (unidentified victims) in San Diego. The Janes are possible victims of human trafficking, and very quickly this becomes a case involving drug dealers, various Mexican cartels, and dirty cops in the San Diego Police and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Sound like a lot? It is. There's also blackmailing and torture and a lot of violence that is treated with horrifying casualness and off-handedness.

But, oh boy, is this book a ride. Even though Vega and Cap figure out how everything fits together quite quickly, watching them race against time and battle against just everybody to catch the bad guys and make sure that the Janes get justice and recognition is nothing short of thrilling. The story stretches beyond the realms of plausibility - I somehow don't think two PIs would be willing to take on the Mexican cartels as well as dirty agents in the DEA, but maybe that's just me being, I don't know, sensible???? - but I really enjoyed being along for the ride from the safety of my reading nest. I also really enjoy the fact that we got to see the entire story, not from Vega's point of view, but from the people around her - meaning we get to admire the way she puts things together and makes decisions, and without feeling conceited for admiring it.

The pacing is also absolutely spot-on: not a single paragraph wasted, and every sentence and piece of dialogue is important to moving along the narrative. I'm also very appreciative of the fact that Luna includes just enough detail about how they are running and managing their investigation that we feel like we might be able to be a part of it, but not so much that we get bored or they feel superfluous. Throughout the entirety of the book, I feel that Louisa Luna is being a consummate balancer in the same way her central character is: balancing the interests of her plotting and her characters with her need to treat said characters with nuance and compassion, and above all keeping us focused on the central story and wanting to keep turning the pages.

The only reason I dock points is because Vega and Caplan end up in bed together. Ugh. Boring.

All told, I highly recommend this book - and as a fun bonus, you don't need to read the first one to enjoy this one!

Happy reading,


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I’m Amélie, I love books and reading, and I also love talking about them.

I’m incredibly lucky to be bilingual, so I read books in both French and English, and will talk about both of those on here – although I will do more in English, since I know that’s probably what the majority of the people who ever find this blog will be interested in!

I also like history, traveling, Shakespeare, coffee, cheese, musicals, Italian Baroque art, the ballet, Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You, flowers, makeup, high heels, and baking. Yes, I’m a walking cliché. I am aware.

Please do tweet at me with any suggestions/book recommendations/thoughts.

In case you’re curious – yes, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time.

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