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  • Literary Triple Threat

    Heather Harlen’s Hope You Guess My Name is a literary triple threat. Great story! Great characters! Great writing! Let’s start with the story. This contemporary piece of fiction takes you for a ride in so many ways. You, like the well-crafted, flawed protagonist, can never guess where you’re going, much less where you’ll end up. The plot is perfectly paced from 0-60, totally unpredictable, and at the same time unique (Geocaching) in a huge way. Just when you think you’re settled into the story, Harlen ups the ante, and in a way that doesn’t feel contrived. Full of mystery, intrigue, and action, Harlen’s first effort will keep you on the clichéd proverbial pins and needles. The main character, Marina Konyeshna, is an unsuspecting heroine of sorts. She has the perfect quantities of selfishness and selflessness to keep you both nodding and shaking your head in equal amounts. Even with the beautifully described robomodels, It’s easy to fall in love with Marina’s complex character. In short…she’s a real woman, the kind men dream about and women dream to be like. She’s a modern-day female Indiana Jones, both fearful and courageous. “The road to hell was paved with Marina Konyeshna.” Loved that line. Since I got into character with Marina, I’ll stay there for a minute. Harlen introduces you to characters slowly, methodically and seamlessly, never overloading you with descriptions but rather infusing them in internal dialogue and actions throughout. From the mysterious Arman to the Ominous Vidam to the steadfast Kendra and Gilly, Harlen builds her characters to precision, creating an authenticity that draws you dead center into the story. And then there’s the writing. It's hard to believe this is Harlen's first novel. She wields POV, description, authentic dialogue (loved Vidam’s dialect), and every other literary technique flawlessly. She gives a clinic on the art of showing over telling and achieves diversity quietly without the heavy-handed “Look at my diverse characters” approach. My highest recommendation for Hope You Guess My Name. Already cracked open book two.

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