Author Deborah Sheldon has crafted an Aussie noir mixed with the desperation and desire of a romantic recluse and a sinister schemer. Lingering lust and crippling longing propel both Ronnie and Rita into a deep dark place where the flash of a gun barrel is the only source of light at the end of this disturbing tunnel.
Ronnie mows lawns to pay the bills and lives a simple life. Middle-aged, he still sleeps in his boyhood bedroom and lives amongst his deceased parents belongings. Timid and without much of a personal life, Ronnie thinks he’s hit the jackpot when 30-something maid Rita takes a sudden interest. Sparks fly, love is in the air - the two form a relationship at breakneck pace with Ronnie not stopping to second guess this pleasant turn of events.
Rita seems too good to be true; an attractive and unattached young woman who has taken a strong interest in Ronnie – is it love or is Ronnie an easy target?
Thrust into a web of violence and mistrust for the purpose of devising a dysfunctional and inappropriate family dynamic, Ronnie finds himself led by the outlandish and brazen actions of Rita. As time goes by this femme fatale drops the façade to provide Ronnie a mere glimpse of his future – one not bound for the warm sunshine of Queensland, rather the firers of hell.
RONNIE AND RITA is a surprisingly deep novella that includes interesting characters with fractured pasts, heinous acts with disturbing underlying causes, and a linear plot that runs rampant as the pace quickens - all wrapped in a distinctly Australian narrative.
I highly recommend this book for fans of James M Cain, Jim Thompson, and David Goodis.