by Debra R. Borys
Genres: Mystery, Suspense
Bend Me, Shape Me is the second novel in the Street Stories suspense series and tells the story of Snow Ramirez, a bi-polar street kid about to turn 18. She’s convinced that psychiatrist Mordechai Levinson is responsible for one kid’s suicide, and may be targeting her brother Alley as his next victim. Once again, reporter Jo Sullivan finds herself the only person willing to listen to one of Chicago’s throwaway youth. Snow Ramirez hasn’t trusted anyone in a very long time, not even herself. Memories of her childhood on Washington’s Yakama Reservation haunt her even on the streets of Chicago. When her squat mate Blitz slits his own throat in front of her, she knows it’s time to convince someone to trust her instincts. Blitz may have been diagnosed bi-polar, like Snow herself, but no way would he have offed himself like that if the shrink he’d been seeing hadn’t bent his mind completely out of shape. Normally she wouldn’t care. Who wasn’t crazy in one way or another in this messed up world? After all, she’d gotten out from under the doctor’s thumb weeks ago and it was too late for Blitz now, wasn’t it? Snow’s little brother Alley, though, there might still be time to save him. If only she can get reporter Jo Sullivan to believe her story before Snow loses her own mind.
While the cover did little to impress me, I was curious after reading the synopsis of Bend Me, Shape Me. I am delighted I agreed to read and review this novel. Borys offers fascinating characters, a look at inner-city homeless children and combines it with a suspenseful mystery that kept me flipping the pages. This is the second book in the Street Stories series but each work as a standalone. Three world review: suspenseful, enlightening and well done.
The tale begins with Blitz and Snow in an abandoned building. Blitz is having a bi-polar episode when he begins chanting about warriors and the CIA. He kills himself right in front of eighteen-year-old Snow Ramirez and she is convinced their doctor had something to do with this. Now she must find a way to prove it and protect her brother Alley..but first, she will have to learn to trust others.
Snow is a powerful character who has been apart of too much darkness for a girl of eighteen. She is streetwise and has spent her youth protecting her brother Alley and drowning her sorrow in pills. Snow and Alley are half Native American and left the Washington Yakama Reservation with their mother and father. Sadly their life went downhill from there. Orphaned they have become wards of the state and both show signs of mental illness. Snow is strong, brave, troubled and incredibly fierce. Watching her open up and trust was profound. Jo Sullivan is a reporter plagued by the conditions of the homeless children on the streets. When Blitz dies she begins researching and eventually meets Snow. I liked Jo; she cares and takes an active role in bettering her community. She can be fearless and I enjoyed watching her work to find the truth. Ben runs the center and while we didn’t have a lot of interaction with him, I enjoyed those we did. Dr. Mordechai Levinson is someone you will love to hate and I found him to be pompous and manipulative. We meet other characters who help round out the tale including the Ramirez’s uncle.
Borys spun a fascinating and suspenseful tale all while weaving in the lingo and life of homeless children in the intercity. She cleverly weaved in government experiments and repressed memories keeping me on edge. The tale has darker sides with drugs and implied sex. The novel is well researched and shows in the characters creating a realistic feel. There were one or two characters and scenes I felt could have been eliminated for a tighter tale. The pace slowly built towards the climatic conclusion keeping me engaged. Borys did an excellent job of bringing all of the threads together.
Bend Me, Shape Me is the second novel in the Street Suspense series and my experience with Borys work. Fans of realistic suspense and unique characters will appreciate this tale.