Party Girl: A Novel by Pat Tucker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Pat Tucker pens Party Girl, not only does the title set you up for the read but the cover as well. While reading on the job, some stared or wondered what the book was all about. Tucker had a great concept on “Texas Law of Parties” whereas Hope Jenay Donovan was sentenced to death for a murder she didn’t commit. Conversely, Adena wanted to see her “True Justice” for the brutal murder of her beloved husband and setup a committee of parents/mothers for the 5 years Hope was incarcerated. She became excited to see that after 5 years that Hope was ready to set a date for her execution but her family and friends wondered after this long period of time that Hope would go forth and expedite execution—guess she lost her fight. There were a pair of jail mates that kept her faith and gave her hope, then civil leader and Rev. Al Sharpton comes to see Hope and plead in her behalf of the ill-treatment for someone who is not guilty, based on a line of events to defend her case. This is not the first case; one similar to Hope's is the Todd Willingham’s case. After his death row was revealed of his innocence, to discover that he wasn’t guilty of the alleged crime. This gave Hope faith but she went back three steps and wants to get it over with!
Some readers may shake their head to see a loved mother and wife, who never pulled the trigger, just happened to hop in a ride of her homeboys due to her borrowed car breaking down and needed a ride. However, Q and Trey, who actually committed the crime but all were arrested for a brutal convenience store robbery. Side note: I wished to see more of this brutal crime, and what actually happened to Q too.
Brendon Donovan believed his wife innocence and fought for their love to be reunited but after all was said and done; he moves on and sleeps with someone close to her. On the other hand, her sister, Chastity is holding it down to take care of sister’s kids over these 5 years while her sister is behind bars but refuses to visit or respond to the numerous letters sent from Hope. She has an unstable relationship with a demanding boyfriend, Trey, and undernourished feelings for her brother-in-law, Brendon that should've never flourished in the first place. Trey accuses her of this fatal attraction and reminds her of what he had to give up being with her—making this unbalanced relationship work. My personal dilemma was how could Chastity date a married man and the same one who was responsible for the crime that her sister is behind bars? Moreover, I was glad to see Hope get over the “victim mentality” and others to encourage Hope to want to live once more, and seek justice beyond this stupid law. Fight for your rights.
Although this novel derives from the Texas Law of Parties, if a murder occurs during the process of a crime that all parties are eligible for the death penalty. Many would say “at the wrong place at the wrong time” and this is a debatable issue of capital punishment. Will Hope be a “dead woman walking”? Did anyone have substantial evidence to stick on Hope’s case? Did the police or detectives get involved in this case, or only base it on the law of parties to send an innocent women to the electric chair long as justice is served? There were some things unanswered, and oddly didn’t tie securely together for me in this read. Is there a sequel? I hope there is a sequel to resolve all the unsolved mysteries. On the other hand, the romantic connections/relations between the couples went limp for me. Yes, it was clear that so-and-so was dating or sleeping with so-and-so, but I longed for the soul ties.
Key quote in the entire novel was “I had hung my faith on the wrong things too many times (page 210).”
Her writing style was error-free, and an easy, smooth read. Tucker rails you in the opening chapter with your tongue out, clueless, until you get midway in the novel to start putting the pieces together of the puzzle. After chapter one, fast forwards to five years later, and then wait to see how it opens and unleashes the demons before our very eyes.
*I received a copy from the publicist of Simon and Schuster for a review.
Author of "God is in the Equation" and "The Day Begins with Christ"
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