She Came in Drag

Reviewed by andy smart

She Came in Drag is the third novel featuring private investigator Emma Victor. In it she is hired to act as bodyguard to Dr Rita Huelga who has just outed her high-school girlfriend, the singer Audra Leon, on a daytime talk show. The show's producers feel that she might be in danger, but Victor is far from convinced of this. She is also hired by an insurance company to try to find evidence of fraud in one of their personal injury cases. Emma Victor decides that the only way she can protect Huelga is to find out why anybody might want to harm her, and that involves trying to discover both why she agreed to betray Leon in the first place and also trying to understand events which took place when they were both in high school. The book builds to a conclusion set against the Halloween celebrations in San Francisco's Castro district.

The plot is convoluted and there are plenty of surprises and twists along the way. I hadn't worked it out before the end, though the clues were there, and one has to admire Wing's skill in juggling all the plot elements. At times I felt that some of the jumps between incidents were a little abrupt and I did lose track of what was going on sometimes, but this is more to do with my reading style than the book itself. There is a large cast, and all of them do have relevance to the plot rather than being there to pad the book out. Wings uses brief but effective descriptions which allow you instant visualisation of her characters without going into vast amounts of descriptive detail. For example she describes TV producer Bevin: ".. her fake red hair all spiky and hip, an expensive salon job." - telling you lots about the sort of person Bevin while simultaneously letting you see what she looks like.

She Came in Drag is a good read, and should keep you guessing till the end. If you actually know the locations Wings is describing then you will probably find it even more interesting. Worth reading :)

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