When is a thriller not a thriller?
Georgia Rose knows all about how thrillers work. [Thrilling intro scene + butchered bodies + insubordinate cop/hardboiled PI/little old lady with knitting and/or cat = “You’re probably wondering why I’ve gathered you here today” moment.]
And she knows how romances work. [Boy and girl meet cute but have issues/ misunderstandings/ conflicts which drive them apart. Boy goes off with buds to watch sports while girl hangs out with besties—at least one of whom is gay—and consumes white wine and Ben & Jerrys. Life and/or buds & besties conspire to bring boy and girl back together. They realize their love is HEA eternal and end with kiss/wedding/hot sex.]
Georgia just doesn’t really care. In her thriller series, The Grayson Trilogy, there are plenty of exciting events. But I suspect they are just an excuse to get inside her characters’ heads, poke around, and see what makes them twitch. Even after the big events and the hot romance, she allows her readers to hang around and see what comes next.
I bring all this up because in her new short story, The Joker, Georgia doesn’t even bother with the thriller OR the romance. She gets straight to what interests her: what makes her characters who and what they are.
The Joker: A Grayson Trilogy Short Story by Georgia Rose
Message from the author: This is a short story, perfect with your morning coffee, afternoon tea or while enjoying your late night tipple.
A tale of the morning after the night before, this story gives you a delicious glimpse into the background of a character who has proven to be a favourite for readers of the Grayson Trilogy. However, you do not need to have read that to enjoy this.
For those who have read the Grayson Trilogy, a series of mysterious and romantic adventure stories, this will be a tasty reminder of the lives and loves of those on the Melton Manor estate. For those who are new to my work, welcome, I hope you enjoy.
If you’re a fan of Georgia Rose’s Grayson Trilogy, you’ve already met supporting character Will Carlton. Through Emma and Trent’s eyes, we’ve seen him as the strong, good-natured ex-soldier, always ready with a joke and a helping hand. But Will wears that persona as a cloak that covers the real man. In The Joker, we step inside Will’s head to see the sorrow and loss he lives with, and his guilt at surviving when Nick—his best friend and hero—was killed.
His attempts to shield that still-open wound, however, lead Will to copy the most visible parts of Nick’s behavior—the joking, lighthearted manner that everyone finds so appealing. Will arms himself with that persona, but refuses to acknowledge the other essential parts that made up Nick’s life as not only soldier and friend, but as husband, lover, and father. So essentially, it’s Will who bears the war wound that leaves him emotionally crippled. Just as amputees sometimes ‘feel’ their missing limbs, Will is driven to look for what’s missing in himself. Because it’s invisible, he looks in all the wrong places, in a relentless restless series of meaningless one-night-stands.
This little story takes place entirely from within Will’s head. We follow as he wakes up from what should have been yet one more pointless sexual encounter. Only something is different this time. For the first time, he finds himself thinking about the woman he’s with. He even wonders…could he return? Could this be something more?
Georgia Rose plays fair with her readers. This show stays inside Will’s head, and plays out as it inevitably must. It’s all about Will. As part of that, she doesn’t even use quotation marks around conversations. So it’s actually brilliantly done that we see Will taking those first steps toward healing that terrible wound, as well as recognizing his own injuries in another when he first meets the new stable manager, Emma Grayson. And that’s when I remembered that the joker is also the wild card.
The fact is that you don’t have to read the rest of the series to get this story. It’s a perfect little jewel—surgically precise and brilliant—that gives dimension to a character. But if you haven’t read the Grayson trilogy, beware. This story will have you reaching for it! And if you have read it, and like me, you’ve been missing your friends at the Melton Manor estate, you’re in for a treat!
Book Title: The Joker: A Grayson Trilogy Short Story
Author: Georgia Rose
Genre: Short story with thriller & romantic elements
Publisher: Three Shires Publishing (April 28, 2016)
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