by Suzanne Rindell
Amy Einhorn Books
(G.P. Putname's Sons)
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Utterly fascinating, scintillating, taut, and precise, The Other Typist pays homage to mystery and detective novels of yesteryear with a bit of crime noir drama--shades of Hitchcock's psychological thrillers--and a bit of a nostalgic romp nearly Gatsby-esque in its boistrous bawdyness and shady underbelly of bootleggers and bathtub gin.
It is 1923 in New York and a new age for women in business; Rose works for a New York City police precinct as a typist. It is her job to type up confessions of all sorts. She listens and takes down the words of murderers, rapists, drunks, and other miscreants. Rose sits with quiet composure, nearly unflappable, as she takes down their confessions. She works under two strong male bosses, the Sargeant, an older, fatherly figure who Rose admires for his character and honestly and the younger Lieutenant Detective, who seems distant and unfriendly.
Rose's world is about to change. Odalie, a new typist, enters her world and nothing is ever the same again. Odalie is young, passionate, beautiful, and full of life. She takes the entire precinct by storm and Rose falls immediately under her spell. Odalie is a force of nature that no one can ignore.Soon, Rose is caught up in a world of bootlegging and hidden speakeasies. She doesn't know what to believe about Odalie's past. There are stories, of course, but Rose chooses to ignore petty gossip. The girls become best friends and roommates and Rose learns to love life in the fast lane--the furs, the jewels, the gowns, the posh suite, the parties, the affluence--play a siren's song.
Rindell is a skillful and adept master puppeteer whose characters are as fascinating as they are bold. Rose is a clever narrator who never wavers---or does she? Part "Single White Female," part The Great Gatsby, The Other Typist is a literary tour de force.
The prose of The Other Typist is particularly exceptional. Readers will be transported to 1923 and through the eyes of Rose, they will experience New York and the Prohibition Era.
Highly, higly recommended for book clubs and fiction readers, high school and up. Adult fiction.
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