Bad Habits by T. Patrick Brown is a story of three very different women whose lives intersect through tragedy. Veronica Howe is haunted by the abuse and torment she suffered from her step-father and has vowed revenge. Olivia Darby overcame her childhood obesity and decided to become a nun. But, she is beginning to question whether or not she has missed out on life. Felicity Starr is a detective who, once she gets on a case, doesn’t give up until she solves it.
Veronica’s step-father murdered her mother, was jailed, but then let out for ‘good’ behavior. She meets him the day he is released to exact her revenge, but things spiral out of control, and she kills an innocent bystander as well. On the run, she meets Olivia, and takes her hostage to help cover her escape. Thirsty for adventure, Olivia becomes a willing conspirator in Veronica’s plan. In the meantime, Felicity Starr, assigned to investigate the murder case, doggedly follows one clue after another, always just a step behind the two fugitives.
This is an interesting book. The two characters, Veronica and Olivia, bring to mind ‘Thelma and Louise.’ One has no choice but to empathize with them, even when condemning their actions. While she gets less page time, the real star of the story is Felicity, a strong woman operating in what is traditionally a man’s world, and doing it quite well.
The male characters, especially the killer-con man who has the necklace Veronica is seeking, and who falls for Olivia, come across as less developed—almost cartoon characters who drop into the panel only when needed, and sometimes without explanation. Lack of fuller development of these characters, and scenes that aren’t logically explained, turn what could be a groundbreaking work of fiction into light reading. It’s interesting, in places entertaining, but ultimately, not as enlightening as the opening made it seem it would be.
I received this book as a gift. I give it three and a half stars.