I'm a big fan of writer Greg Rucka. I love his Atticus Kodiak novels and enjoy most of his comic book writing. Especially the work he and Ed Brubaker did with Gotham Central. So even though it took me a few years since its publication, I was looking forward to reading Rucka's first stand-alone novel, Fistful of Rain.
Fistful of Rain isn't a Kodiak novel and the characters in the book didn't previously appear in comic books (like Rucka's Queen & Country novels). These were new characters in a new setting. Completely fresh. The story is about a guitarist named Mim who gets sent home by the rest of her band mates because her alcoholism is destroying her and the band. Upon arriving home in Seattle she briefly kidnapped and then released, which sets off a series of events sending Mim's life into a tailspin. The drinking doesn't help, either.
Being a fan of Rucka, I really wanted to like this book. He demonstrated all of his signature moves in his writing: strong female characters, creating a sense of real danger, fast paced suspense, and insider details, but it all came too late in the book chance my overall opinion of the novel.
I could barely make it through the first half of the book thanks to the lead character - Mim. Instead of coming off as a flawed heroine, which is what I think Rucka was trying to achieve, she comes of as a drunken brat - too blitzed out of her skull to realize she is destroying her life. And when she is sober I found her completely intolerable. She was someone I wouldn't want to know in real life - unlike other great Rucka female characters like Tara Chase, Sasha Bordeaux, and my favorite Bridgett Logan. I don't think this is what you want to achieve in your main character. Especially when the story is being told in first person narrative by that main character.
Just as my frustration level was hitting its peak, Mim finally wakes up and realizes what is happening to her and finally takes action. At this point it was too little too late. Rucka writes the second half with his usual flare, but it isn't enough to overcome the contempt I had built up for the character in the first half of the book.
And the over-before-it-began lesbian relationship between Mim and a detective of the police force was totally out of leftfield. I didn't see how that played into the story at all. It was like Rucka threw that in to quench some sort of pubescent male fantasy.
I know that as an artist you want to challenge yourself and do new things, so I understand Rucka's desire to write Fistful of Rain. However, after reading Fistful of Rain I kinda wish he would come back to Atticus. Don't get me wrong, Fistful of Rain is an okay book. It just wasn't up to what I was expecting from Rucka. I'd easily recommend and of the Atticus novels or his Queen & Country books ahead of this one.