Book Review and Blog Tour: Paper Targets by Patricia Watts | Lone Star Book Blog Tours

PAPER TARGETS

by Patricia Watts

Suspense / Literary Fiction / Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Pages: 324 pages
Publication Date: May 3, 2022

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Everyone knew that Roanne never got angry­—until the night she killed her ex-husband and herself.

Roanne, a nice, suburban lady in her sixties who works at a Hallmark shop and volunteers at the Food Bank in Round Rock, Texas, calls her lifelong friend, Connie, confesses to murder, then puts the gun to her own head. Connie, spurred by Roanne’s last words about a lifetime of unspoken rage, sets aside her work as a cozy mystery writer and cupcake shop owner to confront the men who have stolen her dignity while she remained silent, including a bully brother, a rapist, and an ex-spouse.

On a journey to reclaim her inner power and to make peace with the loss of her treasured friend, Connie’s mission is to avoid the same tragic path as Roanne, but she takes along a gun, just in case.

With pathos and humor, Paper Targets, by Patricia Watts, calls us to speak our own narratives, even when it is uncomfortable or risky, and shows us the magnificence of a friendship that transcends time.

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This book deals with some difficult subjects: murder, suicide, poor treatment/abuse of women. If these are subjects that cause you distress, please do not read this review.

Paper Targets opens with a bang, literally. Connie and Roanne have been best friends for fifty years. They’ve been through a lot together. So when Roanne decides to end her ex-husband’s life and then her own, she does it with Connie on the line. Before she does, she tells Connie that the anger has trapped her, there was no way out, but that Connie needs to speak up. “Don’t let them have the final say.”

Connie is left floundering without her best friend, but she takes Roanne’s words to heart. She makes it her mission to revisit the men in her life who have talked down to her, taken her for granted, left her feeling “less than.” Former bosses, boyfriends, lovers, her ex-husband, even her deceased father – none of them escape Connie’s speaking up for herself.

The story alternates between past and present events, and each glimpse of the past sheds more light on the present. We see Roanne and Connie growing up, see how they took each unkind word and each slight, whether intended or not. Patricia Watts does an excellent job developing each character, showing how their pasts shaped them and impacted their present relationships.

The cover of this story makes you think this is a lighter story. Maybe a cozy mystery or a rom-com. It is not. It deals with some fairly weighty topics. In fact, the bulk of the story revolves around Connie finding the inner strength to reclaim the parts of herself that men have taken away or squelched over the years. She knew Roanne never did find that strength, never could stand up to the men who would put her down until she had enough and pulled the trigger.

I think most women have experienced, at some point, a man telling them, “You can’t do that, you’re a girl.” Maybe not in those precise words, but in attitude and in action. Any woman who’s ever had that happen, who’s been made to feel like she doesn’t measure up to some arbitrary standard simply because of her gender, will absolutely cheer for Connie. They might even see a little of themselves in Roanne, because at some point, maybe we’ve all thought, “We’re not gonna take it anymore.”

Paper Targets covers challenging subject matter, but it is a worthwhile read. I won’t say I enjoyed it. That sounds too casual. But it is a thought-provoking story, and it will stick with me long after the last page has been turned.

Patricia Watts worked as a journalist for more than 20 years for newspapers in Texas, Hawaii, and Alaska. Following her news career, she tried her skill as a paralegal and then spent ten years investigating discrimination cases for the Alaska Human Rights Commission. Her novels include: Ghost Light and The Big Empty, crime mysteries co-written with Alaska author Stan Jones; The Frayer, suspense noir; and Watchdogs, a steamy thriller. Her home base is San Diego. She earned her B.A. in journalism at Humboldt State in California. She is the mother of a son and daughter and has eight grandchildren.

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GIVEAWAY!

TWO WINNERS:

First Prize:

Autographed copies of Paper Targets, The Frayer, and The Big Empty

Second Prize: Copy of Paper Targets

(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 8/5/22.)

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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:

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Character Interviews

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Author Video

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5 Responses to Book Review and Blog Tour: Paper Targets by Patricia Watts | Lone Star Book Blog Tours

  1. Great review. I think you hit the nail on the head by saying you wouldn’t use the word “enjoy” for reading this book; worthwhile is a much higher compliment in my book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Thank you for the thought-provoking review.

  3. Maryann says:

    Looking forward to reading the book. The reviews, including yours, have prompted me to get the book.

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