A wild batch of story lines
There's so much going on in Laura McDaniel's life, her head might very well explode.
Let's see, she's got a troubled, pregnant daughter. A pending real estate sale that's threatened by some crazy lady. Issues with her ex-husband and her meddling mother. Money problems.
Friday: Barnes & Noble Kahala Mall, 7 p.m.
Saturday: Borders Ward Centre, 2 p.m.
"Paying the Price"
By Madge Walls
Madge Walls' "Paying the Price" does not comfortably fit into a category. Just when it seems headed for mystery territory involving Laura's real-estate deal, it veers off into family angst -- the runaway daughter with some ugly secret. Tangled relationships with her own parents and their own secret pile atop revelations from her borderline-worthless ex. Hmmm, an exploration of relationships, perhaps?
In the middle of all this, Laura becomes suddenly responsible for her infant granddaughter.
Walls worked for 14 years as a Realtor on Maui. Her grandmother is the celebrated artist Madge Tennent. Walls is now based in Colorado, but her novel and her protagonist are drawn from her own years as a single mom on Maui.
"Paying the Price" is a breezy read filled with well-informed local color, quite enjoyable on that level. The book lacks concentration, however -- too many story threads fail to weave themselves into a cohesive whole.
Walls has in Laura a distinctive central character: a mature woman of purpose. It's nice to see.
She also seems made for further adventures. For her sake, I hope the next one is to be a bit less frenetic.