Publication Date: July 30, 2012
In Elegantly Wasted by C. Elizabeth Vescio, Frankie is a contract killer. With the help of her cousins, Kat and Addi, she carries out jobs for the mysterious Osiris Corporation using Kat’s etiquette school as their base. When their much-hated Grandmother dies, they’re planning the biggest job yet. How will revelations about family and the Osiris Corporation change the way they look at their future and will they stay alive long enough to see the long-term impact?
A copy of this novel was provided to me by its publisher, Luna Station Press, in exchange for a review.
I hated Frankie. Perhaps before saying that, it should be said that Elegantly Wasted was overall a decent read. I did so hate Frankie. Frankie is a hipster cynic. Everything is wrong with the world and everyone in it including herself. Oh, wait, not including her. She sees herself as just that little bit too smart and too cool for everyone else. She’s a raging bitch but, in Frankie’s eyes, only because the evil people around her have made her that way. Everyone around Frankie is simply too evil. She doesn’t even like the people she likes. She looks down on both Kat and Addi and even almost seems to revel in the fact that Kat’s marriage failed. As we get the story from Frankie’s view, we learn early on to look past what she’s saying to the actual action. So, yeah, a very well written character. To give it to her family, I’d want to punch her in the face too.
Despite Frankie’s contempt for everyone, even her cousins, the relationship between the three women plays out in a believable and fun way. These are three women who have been in the trenches, lost touch, had arguments and come out even more on the side of their cousins then before. One of my favorite things about this novel (discounting the direct approach to blood and getting it done) was their dynamic. When Kat finds out about her cousin’s job her horror leans more toward the idea that her dog knew before her. She doesn’t really absorb that what Frankie does for a living is killing folks and it wouldn’t be natural for her to have done so at that moment.
The first half of the novel takes place at the grandmother’s funeral and is told in flashbacks from Frankie’s recruitment to Osiris, to the cousin’s finding out, to planning their next move. I will admit it was a struggle to hold on for that first half because the majority of it was as self-absorbed as the main character. There is a bit of James Bond logic “he was supposed to kill you but you’re simply too hot” (applied in a broad sense) but that’s easily overlooked as the story progresses. The main character must stay alive for the story to move forward. Once the true action begins, the plot-line moves quickly and the action is written well and invested with a sincere sense of urgency in the will they or won’t they. Will this author sacrifice a main character because she seems the sort of writer who might? After all, after some time there’s more than one main character.
I would not call Elegantly Wasted the best thing I’ve read this year, but it was okay. If you like action, strong female leads and drama Elegantly Wasted is the novel for you. Will I revisit these characters should they return? Hard to say at this point. Pick it up and let me know what you think.
Read an excerpt and buy Elegantly Wasted by C. Elizabeth Vescio on