Fresh Meat: Joelle Charbonneau’s Skating Over the Line

Skating Over the Line by Joelle Charbonneau
Skating Over the Line by Joelle Charbonneau
Daddy issues:  all the cool kids have ’em.  No, seriously—name a fictional heroine you actually give a damn about, and chances are good she has a crapweasel for a father. 

On the downside, these issues tend to make our favorite leading ladies run screaming when faced with the prospect of a normal, healthy, long-term relationship.  But on the upside, surviving (or surviving without) those crapweasel fathers is also what helped turn them into the strong, independent, ass-kicking name-takers they are today.


Case in point: Rebecca Robbins, proprietress of the Toe Stop roller rink and heroine of Joelle Charbonneau’s Skating Over the Line.  Her father?  Total crapweasel:

“You left Mom to run a business and raise a daughter all by herself.  Never once did you call.  Not on Christmas or my birthday.  And now you want me to lend you money that my mother, the woman you abandoned, earned with this rink?”

And yes, having a crapweasel for a father has left Rebecca a little stunted in the romance department:

Since I’d come back to town, we’d been doing a bizarre dance between friendship and dating.  It’d involved a couple of movies, a ride on his retired circus camel, and some serious make-out sessions. 

But no sex. 

Lionel had great lips and very gentle hands.  My body’s reaction to his kisses told me, no question, doing the deed with him would have a serious impact on me and tip the delicate balance of our relationship.  I wasn’t sure I was ready for either.

But when it comes right down to it, thanks to—or maybe in spite of—her father, Rebecca can care of herself:

Stan uncrossed his legs, and his eyes met mine with great sincerity.  “Honey, your father needs a loan.  I have a couple of big deals ready to come through, but I don’t have a car or the cash to see them to fruition.  All I need is a couple thousand and I’ll be flush.”

My heart did a free fall all the way to my toes.


Stan’s father/daughter bonding moment was about money.  I should have seen it coming, but something inside me had dared to hope he was going to explain his absence.  That he was going to tell me why he’d abandoned me in the first place.  That he was going to say he was sorry.

How stupid could I get?

“Honey,” my father crooned, “I know this is a lot to ask.  I wouldn’t ask if I had any other choice, but Doreen hinted at how much the rink is going to sell for.  You’ll have a lot of extra cash floating around.  Surely you could float some my way, seeing as how I’m family.”

Family? I considered Elwood the camel a more immediate family member than my father.  Elwood had taken a bullet for me, and he’d never hit me up for money.

I looked at my father’s warm smile.  A white-hot rage traveled through my bloodstream, making me tremble with emotion.  Tears built behind my eyes while an invisible fist closed around my heart and started to squeeze.  Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe.

Rebecca?  She has issues.  But that’s a good thing, because our heroines should have issues.  Why?  Because people have issues, dammit.  Show me a person who claims to be issue-free and I’ll show you a liar; nobody escapes childhood unscathed. 

Write yourself a heroine who’s well-adjusted and happy all the time, and…well, I won’t say I’ll actively root against her or anything, but I’ll likely not care whether she survives the book.  But give me a Rebecca Robbins—someone interesting, someone relatable, someone real—and there’s a good chance I’ll stick with you for the series.

Joelle Charbonneau’s Skating Over the Line comes out on September 27th.  In the meantime, you can check out my full review of the book over at The Maine Suspect.

Katrina Niidas Holm loves mysteries. She lives in Maine with her husband, fabulously talented pulp writer Chris F. Holm, and a noisy, noisy cat. She writes reviews for The Season E-Zine and The Maine Suspect, and you can find her on Twitter.



  1. Nancy J. Parra

    Awesome post~ I am looking forward to reading this book!

  2. Katrina Niidas Holm

    Thanks so much, Nancy!

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