Heather Sinclair is our Editor here at Armchair Reviews, and
critiquing her work is a little like evaluating your boss, so of course, Im one of
the ones she picked to do it. Im not sure if its because Im the most
malleable, the most easily intimidated, or the easiest to bribe (Just kidding boss). Of
course she knows I cant afford to lose this high-paying job, not with mothers
operation to pay for.
Oh sure, when she casually walked over to my desk and gave me the assignment she said
to be "brutally honest," but at the same time she mentioned that there might be
a "reorganization" at Armchair Reviews, and that she was debating whether to
expand our operations to cover post-modern literature by selected pre-school students, and
that she was looking for the right gal for the job. Ahem.
Okay, here goes . . .
Heather has produced two series: "A Kingsley Investigation," and "I want
To Dance." Additionally, she has authored two other works: "College Bound
II," and "An Unexpected Turn." Aside from that she also co-authored
"Tattle Tales: A Night At Crystals," a whopper of a tale with no socially
redeeming value, told by six outrageous liars of dubious moral character.
Heather tends to write in narrative form, and though her stories are very good there
are some occasional problems with spelling, punctuation, and distinguishing homonyms.
There is also an occasional problem distinguishing between the plural and possessive forms
of a word. These really arent major deficiencies, and certainly did not detract from
the enjoyment of reading the stories, but they have a tendency to jump out at you from
time to time. Aside from those minor problems, her prose is neat and succinct, and her
dialogue is well-paced and believable. She never loses sight of a characters
personality (which is easy to do) and the interaction between her characters is excellent.
She also has a dry sense of humor that finds its outlet in delightful ways.
"College Bound II" was Heathers first posted work, and it contains a
glaring error. A large section of the text is repeated a few pages into the story, and I
was forced to search for the end of the repeated text to pick up with the story. This was
a nuisance, but the story itself was very enjoyable. This story explores how two lifelong
friends circumvent college regulations concerning co-educational dorms. When the female
half of the duo discovers they cant be together for their freshman year, Lexi
hatches a plan to allow them to occupy the same dorm room. Though their relationship is
platonic, Lexi cant stand the thought of rooming with a stranger, and she uses tears
to coerce Chase into masquerading as a woman. For his part, Chase is skeptical of his
ability to pull it off, but Lexi manages to convince him with a demonstration, and it
proves to be a life-changing event.
"An Unexpected Turn" is written in the world of "Buffy The Vampire
Slayer." The problem here is that Heather assumes her reader is familiar with the
characters, and spends little time on introductions or history. Not being an aficionado of
that particular series I did not understand many of the references in this story, and I
would caution the reader that it will make little sense if you arent familiar with
the underlying characters.
"I Want To Dance" is a four-part story about a male college student with a
female roommate. One evening the girl finds a hot guy she wants to date, but he has a
friend, and, well her roommate agrees to dress up as a favor. After a few too many drinks
he falls asleep en femme, which leads to long term consequences and frank revelations.
I enjoyed the manner in which the two roommates explored their new relationship, and
the smug attitude of the male protagonist as he discovered the power a hot chick has over
men. Heather has a winner here, and my only complaint is that the ending doesnt
resolve enough issues. There is plenty of room for another chapter or two, and I hope she
considers adding to this great series.
"A Kingsley Investigation" is a four part serial, and could easily go longer.
It is, perhaps, Heathers "signature" piece. Robert (Call me
"Bob") Kingsley is a private investigator with a style and attitude right out of
the 30s or 40s. He has a pretty secretary, a reputation for honesty, and Heather made it
easy to imagine him sitting behind a battered desk, with his feet on the blotter and the
requisite trench coat hanging in the corner. Visions of Humphrey Bogart, as Sam Spade, in
the Maltese Falcon come to mind as you read this story.
When a bloody, but gorgeous client appears at his door with a bizarre tale of
bodyswapping Bob swings into action. Ultimately he is successful in helping his client,
but at a severe cost to himself, and Bob must learn to deal with life from a new
perspective. Heathers dry wit really shows through in this series, and a lowlife who
attempts to extort money from "Bobbie" learns the hard way that the new woman
gets a little testy during her periods.
An interesting metamorphosis occurs after Bob becomes Bobbie, and it has nothing to do
with the physical changes. Where Bob Kingsleys thoughts and speech are almost cliche
for his hardboiled character, Bobbies thoughts and speech are subtly different. She
tries very hard to mimic Bob and retain the tough, macho, private investigator image, but
she doesnt quite pull it off. She comes across as parody of her former self, and the
effect is both humorous and sobering at the same time. In my opinion Heather is at her
best in this series, and I look forward to more episodes.
Heather presents a diverse and interesting portfolio of stories that reveal an active
imagination and a talent for descriptive language. Her dialogue is definitely her strong
suit, and she gets more out of the narrative form than most authors who write in the first
person. I thoroughly enjoyed her work, and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for
something that doesnt fall into the same old patterns.
Hang in there Mom, things are looking up. Heather just gave me my own office! Now, if I
could just get the light to stay on when the door is closed . . .