The Ace of Clubs
The Red Dog Conspiracy, #3
by Patricia Loofbourrow
Narrator: Machelle Williams
Length: 8 hours 4 minutes
Publisher: Red Dog Press, LLC
Genre: Noir Mystery, Steampunk Crime Fiction
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Patricia Loofbourrow. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Trapped. Betrayed. Desperate. Could you betray your family to buy your freedom? From NY Times and USA Today best-selling author Patricia Loofbourrow.... The one secret which could destroy everything.... After financial disaster and the zeppelin bombing, the far-future, domed, neo-Victorian city of Bridges is reeling. Three of the four Families are implicated, and an inquest is called to investigate. After her failure to prove Jack Diamond's guilt in David Bryce's kidnapping and the murders of her informants, private eye and mobster's moll Jacqueline Spadros has had enough. While she and her former lover Joseph Kerr try to learn who killed their family friend, they also begin making plans to leave the city. Her tormentors, however, are just getting started. As their web of lies and forgery draws ever tighter, Jacqui begins to see how deep the conspiracy against her and the Spadros Family really goes. When she's called as a witness in the inquest, the secrets Jacqui has kept over the years come back to cause her serious trouble. Will she be able to escape Bridges? Or will she be forced to face the terrible consequences of her lies and trickery once and for all?
As an audiobook narrator with 23 years of experience moving audiences with her voice through corporate facilitation and public speaking, Machelle knows how to connect with the intent of the author to bring their vision to life. Her compelling yet casual voice draws the listener close, transporting them deep into the story and keeping them hanging on every word with full attention and anticipation. Machelle’s voice is nuanced and delivers reads that range from soft and soothing to dramatic and smoky. She specializes in Mysteries & Thrillers, but her Bespoke repertoire also includes Non-Fiction, Religious, Urban and Noire. Machelle is based in Northern Virginia with her two Boston Terriers, Daphne and Lilah, and her fully equipped studio from which she provides quick turn-around of professional quality recordings. When you need a narrator to take your listener to the edge of their seat and their breath away – trust the telling to Machelle.
Main character - Name: Mrs. Jacqueline Spadros (nee: Kaplan)
Nicknames: Jacq, Jacqui
Main characteristics: Headstrong, outspoken, single-minded, fiercely independent
Born in the Cathedral - a brothel - and raised in the Spadros Pot, a notorious slum, which is without basic services such as sanitation, running water, power, or trash pickup. The main industry is the sex trade.
Mother: Fanny Kaplan, owner of the brothel Jacqui grew up in, currently living in the Spadros Pot Peedro Sluff, a Party Time addict and liquor store owner, claims to be her father.
Husband: Mr. Anthony "Tony" Spadros, heir to the Spadros Family crime syndicate
Age at start of the story: 22
Eyes: "peacock blue"
Hair: "thick, curly, reddish-brown"
Skin: "light brown" Average height and build. When describing herself, she says, "I have a sufficiently endowed body for almost any man."
Education: Trained in the sex trade by her mother - along with the other children in the Pot - but wasn't allowed to work, because Jacqui's mother told her that their mysterious benefactor "The Masked Man" wouldn't like it. Learned to pickpocket, open locks, and to do other useful things as she got older. Trained in knife fighting by her friend Josephine Kerr, who also grew up in the Pot. No formal education until the age of 12, when she was sold to the Spadros Family by Peedro Sluff. Groomed to assist Tony in the running of the Business, trained in shooting, and given instruction in self-defense/other means of killing by her father-in-law Roy Spadros.
Occupation: Officially, she’s the mistress of Spadros Manor and in charge of overseeing several dozen servants. But secretly she’s also a small-time private detective, which she hides out of fear of her father-in-law (a cold, violent, ruthless man)
Motivations: Jacqui loves puzzles, and won't let one rest until she solves it. She also has a need to help others, even if it puts her at risk. But her greatest need is for autonomy and independence. When she's stressed, she feels trapped and wants to run. She often feels inferior, and uses a lot of big words to compensate.
Traumas: Jacqui has felt "not good enough" because she wasn't allowed to become a whore like the other girls, which has persisted to this day. When Jacqui was 12, she saw her best friend Air (Nicholas Bryce) killed in front of her as he tried to save her from being sold to the Spadros Family. Her girlfriend Nina Clubb took her own life when Jacqui was fourteen. She was taken from the man she loves, Joseph Kerr, at age 16, and almost raped when she was on her first case as a private detective shortly thereafter. Blackmailed into marrying Tony at 18. Roy told Jacqui if Tony ever finds out their marriage isn't consensual she'll be killed. Has been beaten by Roy Spadros several times.
Strengths: Excellent shot with a pistol. Fast runner. Analytical and can think fast when she needs to. Relatively healthy in spite of her addictions.
Weaknesses: Heavy drinker and smoker. Has PTSD and Stockholm Syndrome. Tends to act without thinking when emotionally engaged. Is loyal beyond when she should be. Sometimes doesn't know how to act in her new world.
Favorite foods/drinks: pork roast, mashed potatoes, bourbon
Favorite colors: bright, deep jewel tones, rich browns, and black. Despises pale colors, especially pastels and white. Likes children, although she doesn’t want any, and unknown to her husband, takes a special tea every morning to prevent getting pregnant.