(Influential Writers Publishing)
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Scattered Lies, the debut novel from Madison, gives the reader everything that makes Urban Fiction delicious. On the surface, this novel is full of high-priced cars, upscale backdrops and inner-city squalor. The entertainment factor is high, but the psychology of and interaction between the characters of Scattered Lies is what will make this a great read. Madison created characters with deep, dark layers giving the reader plenty to digest.
Scattered Lies starts in the middle and works its way to the beginning and the end simultaneously. This is one of the things that makes the novel such an interesting read. Most of the characters are related to each other in multiple ways. As the characters reveal bits and pieces through strong dialogue, the plot twists unravel and will make the gears turn inside of the critical readers’ minds. If you have to go back and re-read parts of Scattered Lies, rest assured that it is not due to poor editing. The complex plot twists keeps the reader engaged.
Although Greg is not the central character in terms of the amount of pages dedicated to him, he can be directly or indirectly attributed to the tangled web of events the author Madison has put together. Greg is a locked up master-mind of a criminal enterprise. More than just a common street thug, Greg’s vision for what was possible for his Melrose Projects crew is infinite. Greg attempts to set his people up for legal success gained mixed results. The intricate mix of personalities, abilities and sense of loyalty is what will separate Scattered Lies from the average Urban Fiction book.
Gabrielle is Greg’s loyal wife and a successful lawyer. Her parents are ashamed of her decision to marry a convicted criminal. Her love for Greg is as genuine as his love for her. The bond gives her the strength to be married at a distance. The monthly conjugal visits are great sexually but not enough to convince her to have children. Gabrielle met Greg while hanging out with her cousin, Denise. The bond with Greg was instant but is later strained when Gabrielle starts to figure out exactly how Greg landed in prison.
Denise, Greg’s protege, shows the most promise out of Greg’s associates. Instead of becoming a statistic, Denise became the exception to the rule. From teenage “good girl gone bad” to ruthless killer to a mature business executive, Denise is a testament to the fact that bad people can come from good families and good things can come from bad people. In the hood, she is known for making people who cross her disappear. At her day job, she is known for keeping everything under control and getting things done no matter what. However, she can’t stay away from street thugs with nothing to offer besides mind-blowing sex. She’s seen it all from being pimped to contract killings to multi-million dollar real-estate deals, and Denise still manages to keep a job strictly for the health benefits.
Tony is a nobody in the hood who is at the helm of a platinum-selling music career with the help of Greg’s direction and connections. With average looks and an overboard ego, Tony lives a life that most wanna-be rappers would die for. He is able to obtain a beautiful girlfriend who is equally successful in her R&B career. His sexual addiction makes it hard to enjoy his girlfriend. Unlike Denise, he has a rep for being a pushover in the streets.
In her debut novel, Madison shows her mastery of melding together name brand items with high level psychology. The characters in Scattered Lies know enough about each other to know that there is more to know. It is that surface tension that keeps the reader afloat amid infinitely deep plot twists. The realistic dialogue is matched with issues that will hit home with many readers: family favoritism, being in love with old flames, skeletons in the closet coming back to destroy stability, among others.
The additional characters and scenarios perfectly accommodate the flavor and complexity of Scattered Lies. Denise’s niece Morgan deals with issues that most teenagers struggle with such as teenage sex, being a critical thinker at a young age and being treated differently because of beauty. Gabrielle’s clientele also engages issues like money laundering practices by wealthy people and rich women who are sexually addicted to boy toys from the hood.
There were two things that did not sit comfortably with me: the book’s cover and the book’s ending. Past the fact that “shattered” rhymes with “scattered”, the only connection I could see between the book cover and its story was that two shards of the broken glass had an image of a microphone (Tony, the rapper) and a woman wearing an unbuttoned shirt with a pearl necklace (presumably Denise, but possibly Gabrielle). However, this cover is much more welcomed and classier than just posting up a pin up model. Scattered Lies’ ending was shocking, but not satisfying. Given the lives of the characters up to that point, I struggle to see how ending the story that way brings closure to the various plot twists or opens the opportunity for sequels.
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