I reckon everyone has a ‘friend’ like Rex – someone that pops up every few years having been out of contact and picks up where they left off, as if no time at all has passed. These friends are characteristically flighty, assuming, irritating and often highly entertaining which is why you keep letting them back into your life.
And this is how Edward Cozza’s novel, Nowhere Yet, opens.
Rex calls Grant after years of being incommunicado. He invites him to spend a weekend in Palm Springs and although Grant is initially hesitant, he accepts when he learns that his ex-girlfriend, Annie, will also be there.
This book looked promising – a modern Big Chill, I wondered? Unfortunately it failed to deliver.
Instead, it’s over three hundred pages of painfully boring descriptions of Rex, Grant, Annie and a handful of other characters sitting in bars, restaurants or by the pool. The characters were disappointingly one-dimensional – reluctant Grant, reserved Annie, smart-arse Rex and savvy Kat. Barmaid Isobelle was there to provide intrigue but her interest in the group didn’t ring true for me and bordered on downright weird.
“Isobelle arrived back at work at the Ritz, feeling pretty good about the night before. She still wanted to get to know Grant better, but the time spent last night was progress. She was enamored with him and had decided he was worth the effort. The woman, Annie, seemed like a very caring person, and though she wished she were not here to compete with, Isobelle found it difficult not to like her.”
Enamored? With someone you met in a bar? And you like the unknown woman you’re competing with? It would never happen…
The story is told predominantly through dialogue which in the beginning is snappy but quickly becomes repetitive and predictable – the continuous ribbing between Grant and Rex; the tentative inquiries between Annie and Grant; and the thinly veiled ‘aggressive’ flirting between Rex and Kat. Furthermore, the relationships and the dialogue between the female characters were so unnatural that I began to wonder if Cozza had ever had the opportunity to eavesdrop on women talking. For example, this exchange between Annie and Isobelle regarding tennis –
“We can just hit, we don’t have to keep score. It’s just to get out and get the exercise,” Annie said.
“I can do that.”
“Good. Say, have you seen any of our friends pass by here today?”
“Yes, Kat stopped by and we talked a little. There is a great deal of depth to her. Her comments mask a real understanding that she has of a great many things.”
What? I don’t even understand that last sentence.
And then there are Grant’s thoughts about his ex, Annie –
“The smile she gave Grant when she saw him was the biggest smile he had ever seen on her face. He thought her beauty radiated from the caring that was attached to that smile.”
“She brought an unknown, unfamiliar confidence with her wherever she went, and it seeped into the room, mixed with a compassion and a calmness that swept over whoever she was with like a desert breeze…. Strangers and old friends alike could not help but sit in awe, as near to being fulfilled as they could ever believe possible. Grant thought this fresco could make him happy the rest of his life.”
I’m not going to dwell any further on Nowhere Yet. Apparently it’s the first book in a trilogy – needless to say I won’t be waiting for the second installment.
I received my copy of Nowhere Yet from the publisher, Legacy Line Publishing via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
1/5 Had I not been reading this book as part of a reading challenge, I would have abandoned it.
At the beginning of the story, Grant and Rex meet in a bar and drink margaritas. I recommend you do the same.