Takes One to Know One: An Alison Kaine Mystery Paperback – 1 Sep 1996
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Featuring the protagonist of "Give My Secrets Back", Denver cop Alison Kane escapes from the stresses of her life to stay with her best friend in New Mexico. But while helping to build a house on lesbian land, she discovers a body in the sweat lodge and suspects it's a murder case.
From the Author
My favorite so far!
I had a really great time writing this one - I got to explore a lot of my own stereotypes about people in the queer community, plus it was just fun being in a new place. (Take One is set in New Mexico, which is one of the places where I grew up.) I'm working on a new Alison novel which I think is due to come out next year.
No customer reviews
|5 star (0%)|
|4 star (0%)|
|3 star (0%)|
|2 star (0%)|
|1 star (0%)|
Review this product
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
As a person from the Midwest in the land of the Coastal Elites, flyover country ain't got time fo dat. It's a weird Midwestern kind of edgy lesbian sensibility that's going on here.
Cultural appropriation insanity, complaining about the patriarchy by rejecting Oreo cookies and diet Pepsi, trans/lesbian tensions... There's so much going on, it's probably hard to keep it all straight. (haha) Yet the author manages to pull it off, in my opinion.
The character names say a lot about this group. We have Seven Yellow Moons, G-Hey!, Lavender Chrystalpower, Gaya, Hawk, Persimmon and the "medicine woman" Etonya-kyita, whose name "was taken from me at the schools of the white man, and I became Sarah Embraces-All-Things". I nearly choked on my drink when Alison mischievously introduced Michelle as "Painted Pony on a Serene Horizon in the City", or "City Pony" for short. It turns out that Alison and Michelle were invited only because Michelle owns a cement mixer.
And the list of rules: in-and-out once, no men's publications, no men's voices, no smoking, no drugs, no S/M, no enslaved animals, no perfume or commercial shampoos or other scented products. I half expected tampons to be banned in favor of hand-made hemp washable pads. Oh, and the vow all the women are required to sign:
I vow and agree that I will dedicate myself to the creation of a new order of matriarchy while I am on this retreat at Mariposa Women's Land. I agree from this moment on to rededicate my heart to the creation of a way of life that renounces racism, abled-bodiedism, ageism, classism, sexism and male dominance. From this moment on I renounce all rules of the patriarchy which are harmful to women and I will do my best to take these vows out into the world once I leave the land.
Alison feels out of place, and... she had invited her girlfriend Stacy (also known as Mistress Anastacia in her role as a professional dominatrix), and Stacy's friend Liz, who is also into the leather scene. Oil and water doesn't seem like a flammable enough combination to describe this mix.
Of course, Stacy and Liz show up late and end up camping outside the premises, where they proceed to booze it up, toke like Cheech and Chong, do magic mushrooms, etc. And Stacy keeps trying to shove drugs into Alison, which is Very Bad since as a cop she's subject to random drug tests. This part bothered me a hell of a lot. I realize that Stacy and Liz are set up here to be demonized by the collective, but usually people into BDSM are really cautious with booze and drugs, and absolutely forbid them during scenes. Most tops I've met are so Type A they dislike the feeling of loss of control that goes with intoxicants as well.
All of this sets the scene for another murder mystery. One of the women of the collective is found dead in the sweat lodge. Alison believes it's murder. The collective disagrees and wants to burn her on a giant wood pyre. Alison wants to call 911 and report the death. Thus the mystery unfolds. Once the book reached this point, the mid-section dragged. There was conflict all over the place, but it seemed almost random. The pacing was slow and the episodes of conflict were irregular. The whole climax scene was confusing to me. The book's not bad, but it's not nearly as good as the first two novels in the series.
Despite their differences, or perhaps because of them, Stacy and Allison still manage to find time for... Allison and company do a wonderful job of humanizing that feminist taboo- s/m. In depicting intelligent, caring women with ordinary jobs (except for Stacy . . .), bills, and pets, Allen creates cognitive dissidence for people who demonize the leather community.
Allison and Stacy aren't the only ones indulging their... Away from the strain of domestic life with her girlfriend and their colicky baby, Michelle is expressing more than a professional interest in Persimmon, a fellow glass artist, and one of the commune sponsors.
Soon, Sarah Embraces-All-Things, the commune spiritual leader, a bully, and possibly a fraud, is discovered dead in the sweat lodge. Allison, suffering from a recently diagnosed chronic illness, struggles to sort out her professional responsibility as a police officer and her role as a supportive lesbian. Several members of the retreat appear happy to call Sarah's death an accident. Are they protecting a murderer?
Allen succeeds in poking fun at all the complexities and contradictions of the lesbian, gay, and feminist community without being malicious -- a great temptation, particularly over some of the issues. -- and conveys intelligent ambivalence over controversial issues. As the characters struggle with their interactions, political views, and the question of Sarah's death, Allen points out how very funny lesbians can be while she consistently displays compassion for the women that make up our community. All of Allen's novels are intelligent, humorous, and worth buying but this is still my favorite to date.
The only complaint I have is the use of Spanish at the beginning. One of the clues is in Spanish, but anyone who does not speak the language (like me) is going to miss it.