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JUNE BUG by Jess Lourey


By Theresa de Valence - Posted on 30 December 2007

Lovers of light fare mixed with irony will list JUNE BUG amongst their favourite reads of the year.

Mira James, the first person protagonist, is a 29 year old woman living in a small Minnesota town. She’s intelligent and perceptive, but that’s not enough to make her feel fulfilled.

Mira is a likable woman whose heart is in the right place though her smart mouthed thoughts are not. Fortunately for Mira, she often keeps these thoughts to herself. Unfortunately for Mira, she sometimes doesn’t.

This is a girl with plenty of attitude, most of it highly irreverent. Sardonic is a word which might fit Mira though she is not bitter, rather she has rather optimistic (though perhaps foolhardy) expectations of the Y chromosome. In spite of past loves and half loves and terse observations on other people’s relationships, Mira does lust after traditional paths to fulfillment. Since to date she has been largely unsuccessful, her reliable pleasure is derived from a Nut Goodie, a mind-bogglingly wonderful treat available from pearsonscandy.com.

The author peppers the story with nonsense words whose meaning is clear in context, in the marvellous manner of a good Wodehouse utterance. Of course, Mira’s thoughts are a little bawdier, but they are just as impudent.

Mira’s heart is what gets her into the puzzle in JUNE BUG, but it takes all of her intelligence and drive to get herself out. The story is a fast paced read with a straightforward plot line, though some plot action was unexpected. Many clues are obvious. Characters other than the protagonist are shallow, the bad and off-colour guys are apparent early in the story. None of these attributes detracts from the crisp fun of this light mystery.

JUNE BUG gives those unfamiliar with Minnesota an intimate appreciation for the environs. In spite of the mosquitoes, leeches and ticks, we are left with a strong desire to return to visit Mira in the small town of Battle Lake.