Lola

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Nov 2018

Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley, one world Publications, Point Blank and the author, Melissa Scribner Love, for the opportunity to read a digital copy of Lola in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion opinion.
I was so excited at the prospect of reviewing this book. The premise of the story sounded intriguing. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the book. Not a book for me.
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I picked this book in a spur of a moment, I liked the cover and the title and the synopsis was intriguing. I loved the idea of a badass heroine who is the mastermind behind a drug gang operations and the theme of the book reminded me of Martina Cole. Unfortunately, Lola didn't work for me. The writing style is quite poor. I agree with another reviewer who wrote that the book reads like a television drama. It actually feels to me as if there was a TV show first and the book was written only after, trying to describe what happened on screen. While this might appeal to some readers, it didn't to me.

The only strength of the novel is in the idea of the female anti-heroine, but even her character fell flat for me, there just wasn't enough character development. Sadly, I didn't connect with any of the other characters either, they are only briefly introduced and I had some troubles keeping track of who was who. The plot is average, it didn't grip me like I hoped. I am going to DNF this (@41%), which I rarely do and hate doing, but I can't make myself push through.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Melissa Scrivner Love writes award winning dark and brutally visceral urban crime fiction set in gangland LA and which explores the role of gender in that community. On the surface, it may well be possible to accept the picture of Hispanic Lola as the subservient girlfriend of Garcia, leader of the Crenshaw 6 gang. However, the reality is rather different as it is Lola that is the true leader. Lola's background has been a nightmare of abuse and neglect with a heroin junkie for a mother in a life that has been short on choices. A failed job that involves her younger brother lands Lola in hot water with dangerous repercussions for both the gang and Lola, her life is at stake as she tries to locate a significant amount of drugs and money within a short time period. 

The narrative immerses the reader into the harrowing and volatile world of gang warfare, where life expectancy is limited with the grinding daily hazards faced by gang members. We are given fascinating insights into the smart and manipulative Lola's interior life, her fears, her vulnerabilities, the requirement to dampen down her capacity for compassion, her courage and her bravery in a man's world, in short all the factors that have shaped her into the person she is today. Her need to save and protect the likes of young Lucy from the kind of childhood horrors she was subjected to lends her qualities we can admire, given that it is well nigh impossible for Lola to lead a moral life. This is a hard hitting story that takes in murder, cartels, misogyny, paedophilia, sexual abuse, guns, drug addiction, ruthless killers, police corruption, betrayal, rivalries and so much more.

This is a multilayered tense, fast paced and action packed novel that is definitely not for the faint hearted. It is a heartbreaking read that looks at what it takes for a woman to succeed in the cut throat world of gang leaders and the sheer force of Lola's capable personality that commands the men around her, whilst keeping a tight rein on her emotions. I found this book the very definition of a disturbing and unsettling read but I found Lola an extraordinarily compelling and complex anti-heroine. Scrivner Love's writing and dialogue is impressive as she portrays an LA gang world and characters that feel depressingly authentic and terrifying. If you are looking for a different type of crime fiction from the norm, then this might well be what you are looking for. Many thanks to Oneworld Publications for an ARC.
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I dived in to LOLA, looking forward to a pacey novel that packed punch. The writing was effective, shining light on the dark underworld of LA gangs with Lola starring in the lead role as a determined and savvy woman, making her way in her world, her way! However, despite it being an action-filled plot I was taken by how little I drawn along by the narrative, but rather dragged which is a shame. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t finish the book
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