Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amy Lane whose newest book Fish Out of Water releases today.
By Amy Lane
So I’ve got a thing for animal metaphors—sue me.
I think it’s only natural, though—we tend to anthropomorphize animals and give them human traits and human motivations. Why wouldn’t we practice zoomorphism on the humans we know? (Yes, that’s a real word—I swear!)
We have the vocabulary built into our every day, right? We slink like a cat, hiss like a snake, prance like a pony and swim like a fish, an otter, or an eel. A sycophant is a loyal lapdog, a leader is an alpha wolf, and a formidable female opponent is a dragon lady. It seems that the more human people are, the more we need animals to help describe them!
In the case of Fish Out of Water, both the characters are the fish—but only one is the cat.
Ellery Cramer was born well off. He became a defense attorney so he could—in his mother’s words—do an acceptable job that allowed him to be of service. He’s used to defending guilty clients—but he’s also used to interacting with lawyers, court officials, and judges.
Jackson Rivers throws him for a loop—and so does the client Jackson brings him.
For one thing, Kaden is unequivocally innocent.
And for another, they’re both from the crap side of town.
Kaden—who has spent his entire life trying to do better for his family—is okay with his poor roots, but Jackson, who was a cop, is a little bit defensive.
So Ellery is out of his element when dealing with Kaden and Jackson, and that makes him a fish out of water.
Jackson, on the other hand, deals with judges, law enforcement, lawyers and criminals all the time—even though he never thought he’d find Kaden on the wrong side of the law, Jackson is in his element. Right up until Ellery starts showing some serious affection.
And this is where Jackson becomes our fish—because nothing in his life has prepared him for a lover who’s serious—and who won’t take Jackson’s relationship avoidance without question.
So Ellery doesn’t understand all the players in his bowl but Jackson doesn’t understand the rules of the pond, and that makes things interesting.
It’s not made any easier by the fact that, before Jackson was a fish, he was a total and complete tomcat.
Now the things that motivate Jackson’s promiscuity are understandable—but I don’t think I’ve ever written a character who’s taken quite so much pride in sleeping around, either. Jackson’s foil is his beloved cat, Billy Bob, who, like Jackson, pretty much fucks anything that moves. (Yes, I know—Jackson needs to get the damned animal fixed—that becomes a theme of the story!) So Jackson is an unapologetically slutty kitty—who is now swimming with an affectionate shark.
Yeah—this only works with metaphors, I get that, but it’s sort of fun to think about, right? Of course it’s even more fun when the people I’m writing about shed their fishy and furry metaphors and become human.
Suddenly the metaphors are symbolic of the armor both of them wear to keep the world from hurting—and when they’re skin to skin, they’re no longer a fish and a cat, they’re hurt human beings who suddenly need each other.
And while the shark and the cat might not work in the natural world, the needy humans are the stuff of romance books.
So while this book has a great deal of murder and mystery and mayhem in it—and I’m not going to lie, I had fun writing about bullets flying and car chases and Jackson beating the crap out of bad guys—at it’s heart it’s about a fish and a cat.
Who are really two people with a more complicated than usual route to falling in love.
PI Jackson Rivers grew up on the mean streets of Del Paso Heights—and he doesn’t trust cops, even though he was one. When the man he thinks of as his brother is accused of killing a police officer in an obviously doctored crime, Jackson will move heaven and earth to keep Kaden and his family safe.
Defense attorney Ellery Cramer grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but that hasn’t stopped him from crushing on street-smart, swaggering Jackson Rivers for the past six years. But when Jackson asks for his help defending Kaden Cameron, Ellery is out of his depth—and not just with guarded, prickly Jackson. Kaden wasn’t just framed, he was framed by crooked cops, and the conspiracy goes higher than Ellery dares reach—and deep into Jackson’s troubled past.
Both men are soon enmeshed in the mystery of who killed the cop in the minimart, and engaged in a race against time to clear Kaden’s name. But when the mystery is solved and the bullets stop flying, they’ll have to deal with their personal complications… and an attraction that’s spiraled out of control.
About the Author: Amy Lane dodges an EDJ, mothers four children, and writes the occasional book. She, her brood, and her beloved mate, Mack, live in a crumbling mortgage in Citrus Heights, California, which is riddled with spiders, cats, and more than its share of fancy and weirdness. Feel free to visit her at www.greenshill.com or www.writerslane.blogspot.com, where she will ride the buzz of receiving your e-mail until her head swells and she can no longer leave the house.