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    Review of FOOL'S MATE by Laura Pedersen

    CreateSpace, August 2011

    Josie Kincaid serves as the go-to-girl at a cable news network, writing stories, editing stories other writers mangle, and serving as general research and grammar source for everyone. All of which makes her both indispensible and annoying to the other workers. When she drives out one office-mate, human resources saddles her with Calvin--a preppy-style guy who's certain to be a great talking head (which drives Josie crazy since the one thing she isn't allowed to do is actually report the news) with conservative views that clash with hers, and a fiancee who's rich, beautiful, and whiny.

    To make up for her frustrations in life, and because it's something of a family tradition, Josie has turned to excessive drinking and casual sex with co-workers and anyone else she meets in the journalist bars where she hangs out. Maybe it isn't a great life, but it keeps her busy, and lets her forget the self-destructive behavior of the day (of which alcohol plays a major part.)

    Calvin is a good guy and he's not going to sleep around on his new wife, but the chemistry is strong. When the two are thrown together in the middle of a coup attempt in a mineral-rich African nation, Josie realizes that she is largely responsible for all of the problems in her life. Still, it's clear that she can't have Calvin and it's hard for her to see how she can get away from drinking--it pretty much forms her social life.

    Author Laura Pedersen (see more reviews of fiction by Pedersen) has a charming style and makes us care about a woman who clearly is her own worst enemy. The breezy style works as a contrast to the often dark elements of Josie's self-destructiveness (something she works hard not to admit to). Josie's willingness to fight for her place in a male-dominated workplace, and her hopeful take on the world's problems make her sympathetic despite her flaws.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 11/29/11

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