Griffith, Nicola. Stay.

NY: Random House, 2002.

This is the second novel about Aud Torvingen, six-foot-tall Atlanta ex-cop, private investigator, self-defense and martial arts expert, new multimillionaire by inheritance, Lesbian, and experienced killer (“violence is a tool like any other”), whom we first met in The Blue Place. And it’s a doozie.

Aud (“rhymes with shroud”) is the daughter of the Norwegian ambassador to the UK and in the first book she developed a deep relationship with Julia, a corporate art specialist, and the two eventually went to Oslo, where Julia was murdered because she got caught up in Aud’s problems.

Now it’s a year later and Aud still hasn’t come to terms with what she is convinced was her responsibility in her lover’s death (because she simply didn’t move fast enough). She’s rebuilding a cabin in the mountains near Ashville — she also is an expert woodworker — and wants no company for any reason, but finally her old friend, Dornan, who owns a string of Atlanta coffee shops, comes looking for her. His fiancée, Tammy, has gone off with Geordie Karp, a fast-talking and manipulative guy from New York, and hasn’t been heard from in too long. Aud doesn’t really have “friends” but Dornan seems to insist on being one. So she finally agrees to go and find Tammy and make sure she’s okay — but she won’t drag the woman back against her will.

Of course, Aud is eventually successful in her quest but her discovery of what Karp is really up to pushes her over the edge, and suddenly there’s a killing to be dealt with. And there’s the rehabilitation of Tammy, whose mental state is now extremely fragile. And then there’s the little girl Karp was grooming, who also needs rescuing. Griffith’s style swings from almost poetic to in-your-face brutal but she keeps control of the story, mostly. And Aud (“rhymes with proud”) is certainly a fascinating character.

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Published in: on 22 August 2016 at 4:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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