Title: A Little Trouble with the Facts
Author: Nina Siegal
Publication Year: 2008
Source: Purchased from Chapters
From the cover:
Valerie Vane was an up-and-coming lifestyle reporter at a prominent New York City daily. Then she stumbled, rather publicly, and lost it all – her column, her fiance, her access behind the city’s velvet ropes. Now she’s on the obituary desk writing death notices, and it feels like a dead end.
However, when she writes about a recently deceased once-famous graffiti artist, the phone calls start. A mysterious voice on the other end of the line tells her the artist’s death was a murder – and if she was a real reporter, she’d investigate.
But can Valerie trade her stilettos for gumshoes?
I picked this book up as a beach reading book for my vacation to the Dominican Republic way back in March. I never got around to reading it, and so it’s been sitting on the window ledge beside my bed since then. Over the past few days, I finally got around to it, and now you get to hear my thoughts!
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this book to begin with. It looked like it could be a little cute, a little funny, and maybe a little thought-provoking, in the “whodunnit” kind of way, but I wasn’t expecting much more than frivolous chick-lit … and that’s pretty much what I got.
For most of A Little Trouble With the Facts, the main character is a completely self-absorbed newcomer to New York CIty who lucked out and found herself with a writing job at a glossy, followed by an even better writing job at “The Paper”, and now has gotten herself relegated to Obits. You can’t really feel all that sorry for her, though, especially as you find out what happened to get her there – it takes a while to get the whole story – because it turns out that it was pretty much all. her. fault.
I mean, really. Yes, the catalyst was something that her ex-fiance did, but it could easily have been avoided, in some very major ways. I spent a lot of time throughout this book shaking my head or my fist at her and wondering what on earth she was thinking, and why she couldn’t see that she was the cause of her own problems.
After that, the story gets somewhat more interesting, particularly once Valerie (whose real name, by the way, is “Sunburst Rhapsody”) starts investigating the death of Stain, the once-famous graffiti artist. It continues in this fashion for most of the book, and then there’s a “surprise” in the last 20 or so pages. However, if you’re an attentive reader at all, you could have seen at least some of that surprise coming from miles away. It wasn’t exactly subtle.
Siegal’s writing was witty at times, but she also tried much too hard in some a lot of places. Not just with the jokes, either; character descriptions, internal monologues and imaginings, and even descriptions of actual events were often completely over-the-top as well. Here’s a fairly mundane example:
Buzz Phipps has a face like a new BMW sports car: sleek aerodynamic curves and a buffed, hot-waxed patina, tested for maximum performance on scenic mountain roads, seen idling in French hamlets before quaint patisseries. Around town, I knew, Buzz kept a harem of hair-care specialists, massage therapists, manicure-pedicurists, personal trainers, wardrobe consultants, eyebrow experts, ear-and-nose-hair pluckers. And there were fashion designers and boutique managers throughout Manhattan who’d rescheduled a Rothschild to offer Buzz a fitting.
I really do wish that I was kidding.
Anyways … I did finish the book, and it did sort of entertain me, just not in any way that really required me to think. So I’m giving it a conditional recommendation – this is a good book if you want something mindless to read quickly, like on a plane or a beach … but otherwise, skip it.