Strangers in Paradise (Vol 5) by Terry Moore
I’m so glad that Moore finally got around to telling David’s story. How David had been presented before this, you always figured that he was a softie. A softie from birth, the nice one to his sister’s black heart. However, once upon a time, it wasn’t so. David was little thug, trying to be a big thug. Trying to be part of his father’s (and uncle’s) mob army. However, he killed a young Chinese boy named David and this changed his life.
Because of his father’s family ties, David gets off for the real David’s murder. But it changes him. He goes away from his family. He takes David’s name as a constant reminder of what he did, and he goes to school. When he comes home, Darcy is in charge of the evil empire as their father is dead and the mob has a power vacuum. Darcy is the one who takes the Parker Girls beyond anything their father dreamed of.
But since this is David’s tale, it focuses on the incestuousness of Darcy’s feelings for her brother. And David’s somewhat inept and vague rejection of her. I can’t always tell if David is just used to his sister — family is as family does — but he comes across as puritanical about sex in general, not rejecting his sister based on them being related. That said, I do like David’s introduction to Katchoo and how he’s immediately smitten with her. Of course, he would want the woman who his sister’s with. I also liked his point-of-view of their blackmailing the senator. And seeing him finding Katchoo in Houston.
Katchoo’s painting exhibition was just lovely. I felt like Moore did a great job at balancing Katchoo’s reaction to the show with the press, her fans, and, of course, Freddie going after another Francine painting. I love him underbidding for the art. The inclusion of the art itself was wonderful. It was like a good guide to a pretty art show. Plus, all Katchoo’s work serves as a reminder of everything that’s happened in the books before without feeling redundant.
Freddie and his new romance with Emily Stryker is pretty funny. I like how she seems to be able to put him in his place, unlike both Francine and Casey. She’s a lot more confident and self-assured than they are. Of course, she’s still too good for Freddie. That guy is one lucky man.
I wondered when Sara was going to show up and reveal her FBI status. Especially since Moore focused so much on it in the last book and then really nothing seemed to come of it. It just seems weird that for some reason Moore felt the need to make Katchoo penniless again and this was how he did it. But then again, this could be the way of keeping Tambi in the books and alive without the FBI knocking on her door. I do like the realism of how Sara was reassigned due post-9/11.
I adored Marie turnin the tables on her secret identity as Mary Midnight and taking back all her profits from over the years. And also rekindling the romance between her and Francine’s dad. Due to a large part of Strangers in Paradise being from Francine’s point-of-view, it’s a good set-up for the readers to want them to reunite. And they are clearly a stand-in for the reuion between Francince and Katchoo. Especially since there’s the whole moving back to Houston and getting a tattoo to match Katchoo’s. But it’s nice to see Francine as a beautiful woman at the party at the end.
Additionally, I love that Casey is Katchoo’s current best friend and how on some angles a trip to Vegas always has to be a bad thing. Who would’ve thought that David really would marry Katchoo? Especially looking back on the first issues of the series. Casey has a big heart and helping out her friend really showed up. And knowing when to hang up her Vegas showgirl costume and head back to Houston to be with Katchoo.
Of course, David and Katchoo’s marriage wouldn’t work out. I do feel for Katchoo in that it’s easy to mix up the signals of really great friendships and connections with romantic feelings. But I liked her quiet revelation to herself that she’s a lesbian and her and David’s marriage will never work. However, I do not like David dying.
I really was not into the tale of Molly & Poo. I hope that taking all those issues pays off in the end. I’m not sure what Moore’s trying to say with it. Writers are crazy? Killers get off? People in love are crazy? There are signs you should watch for? Don’t take fiction too seriously? I don’t know.
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