Monday, March 23, 2015

REVIEW: Identity Theft

Title: Identity Theft
Author: Laura Lee
Series: N/A
Pages: 278
Date Published: N/A
Publisher: N/A
Format: ebook
Genre: Romantic Comedy? 
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

A bored employee in a rock star's office begins an online relationship with a fan in the guise of his boss and sets off a chain of events he cannot control.

Candi Tavris is on the verge of turning 30, she works in the packaging department of a company that is downsizing and she is hounded by calls from creditors who mispronounce her name. She wakes up every morning praying that the folks at Life Lock will perform their work in reverse and give her "identity" to someone else. Her younger sister, never a serious student, married a rich executive and lives in a mansion. Candi's only solace is escaping into the music and image of the 80s pop star Blast.

Ethan Penn, a 22 year-old college dropout who smokes pot and lives in his mother's basement, works in the rock star's office. (His desk sits under a framed gold record with a dead spider caught in the glass.) His boss, whose real name is Ollie Thomas, is as socially awkward off stage as he is charismatic on stage. He is depressed about his pending divorce. His greatest fame is behind him, his biggest hit "Partly Cloudy Thursday (Blast With Me)" was a cliched monstrosity written to please record executives. His rock n' roll lifestyle mostly consists of finding ways to keep his laundry from stinking while on the road and trying to remain anonymous while buying Preparation-H.

Blast assigns the task of keeping up with his social networking to Ethan. Ethan starts to correspond with Candi through e-mail and chats in the guise of the rock star. The conversation soon becomes steamy. The game spirals out of control when Blast performs a concert in Candi's hometown and Candi is mistaken first for a groupie and then for a delusional stalker. Candi must try to prove (and retain) her sanity. Ethan must decide whether to risk jail by telling the truth. A terrified Ollie has to come to terms with his relationship with his Blast character and the consequences of his fame.

~My Thoughts~
Candi was a bit of an odd duck as a main character. She's got a viciously sarcastic view of the world, which is all too apparent from page one. She's jaded, slightly bitter, and seems to feel that the world is her burden to bear. Somewhat miserable, it's easy to see how she could fall prey to the wiles of Ethan, though he never really intended to hurt her. 

You see, Ethan's job is mainly to catfish. Meaning that he pretends to be a fading 80's star on social media to keep said has-been's fans happy. When Candi and Ethan strike up some very saucy converstations, Candi is thrilled, thinking that she's finally found something fun, interesting, and wild in her life. Ethan, to me, was a bit of a loser. He reminded me a bit of my brother actually...not to say that my brother is a loser...just that he has an affinity for a certain plant that you can roll up and smoke...So it was a bit difficult for me to connect on the steamy side of things, but I did think that Ethan was funny. We could be buds I think :) 

Laura Lee's writing style trends towards the dry, biting, one-liner variety, although more often than not you will emit an amused grunt as opposed to all-out laughter. But damn, this girl has got it on the realism factor. You tell me you haven't had a frustrating customer service call with someone who had a heavy accent and claimed to be "Bill", "Steve" or "Betty". Tell me you haven't bought something that looked amazing on the model and then made your ass cheeks hang out the back. These moments and more bring the humor of the everyday to live, and while the book was heavier on the sarcasm, these issues really served to liven up the tone a bit. 
~Try an Excerpt!~
Ethan Penn’s desk was right under the gold record. It hung a bit crooked, no matter how many times he tried to adjust it.  He had some ideas about blue tack, it worked on his posters at home, but he never got around to bringing the stuff in.  More annoying was the spider.  At some point it had crawled under the glass and died.  It had been there, preserved in the golden grooves since Ethan had gotten his job, about four months before.  He looked at the dead bug every day.  “Someone should get that out of there.”  But it was Blast’s gold record, not Ethan's, and he was not going to be the one to take it apart and break it somehow.

Ethan's desk wasn't actually a desk, for that matter.  His computer screen sat on a door that was laid flat and balanced across a couple of two-drawer filing cabinets.  He was the new guy, an add-on employee and his job was simple.  He did whatever no one else in the office wanted to be bothered with.

His immediate supervisor was the office manager, Brenda. She was a heavy set woman in her early 40s. She wore her hair in a stylish black bob. She was a rocker, and she dressed it, and yet she still managed to stay age appropriate. So many middle aged women made themselves look years older by trying to look too young.  Brenda did the bulk of things, she answered the phones, handled bookings, dealt with all of the daily mini-crises that came with keeping a show on the road.

She'd been with Blast for 17 years-- since he moved to America from London. She had a crush on him, which she seemed to believe was a well-kept secret. She was happily married though with a couple of kids and clearly had no intention of rocking the boat.  Another woman, Maggie, whose job was to line up free hotel rooms in exchange for advertising, told Ethan that Brenda once said she valued the unique role of being the one female friend Blast hadn't slept with.

Along with Brenda and Maggie, there was a used-salesman kind of guy who sold tour sponsorships, there was an accountant who came three times a week, a girl who came in about as often to handle on-line orders for concert merchandise, and a business lawyer who came in when called.  Ethan did everything else. 

He answered phones and routed calls to the right people. He ran things off on the photocopier.  He mailed off promo kits to theaters that might like to book a gig. Sometimes the guys on the road needed someone to take care of something personal back home in L.A. and a lot of those tasks fell on him. “I ordered this thing and I am having it sent to the office, and when it comes I need you to send it to me at...” Ethan had gotten pretty good at figuring out how to time deliveries so they caught up with people constantly on the move.

He opened fan mail and sent back the form letters and photos.  “Blast gets so much fan mail he does not have time to respond personally, but he appreciates...”  It was time consuming and only a bit more interesting than any other job stuffing envelopes.  Most of the letters were predictable, “Your music means so much to me... it got me through a hard time...” Every once in a while a letter stood out, it was touching or personal or contained a request from a charity.  He put those aside for the more senior staff to look at and follow up on.  Then there were the strange ones: a woman who thought she was an alien and she and Blast came from the same planet, a guy who thought Blast was stealing songs out of his subconscious, a woman who sent a bunch of pictures she had made with Photoshop-- the rock star's head on the bodies of crime victims.  He didn't answer those. They went into a special file, just in case.
~Meet Laura!~ 
Metro Detroit native Laura Lee divides her time equally between writing and producing ballet educational tours with her partner, the artistic director of the Russian National Ballet Foundation. She is the author of more than a dozen non-fiction books with such publishers as Harper Collins, Reader’s Digest, Running Press, Broadway Books, Lyons Press and Black Dog and Leventhal. Her Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation has sold more than 85,000 copies. She has also written two collections of poetry, and a children’s book (A Child’s Introduction to Ballet). She brings to her writing a unique background as a radio announcer, improvisational comic and one-time professional mime.

The San Francisco Chronicle has said of her work, “Lee’s dry, humorous tone makes her a charming companion… She has a penchant for wordplay that is irresistible.”

Angel is her first novel. Read more about the book at
Win a copy of Identity Theft Below!