As much as I love to read, you may have noticed that writing a review is a rare event for me. Books, like all forms of art, are subjective so I leave it to each person to find the writings that speak to them. But, once in a while, I find a secret morsel that I think, given the chance, would cross over those lines of preference for my readers. Something with the potential to break through that wall of subjectivity. Something that resonates with the reader and makes them say, “I want more.”
The Charlie Diaz Syndrome by Michelle Garcia
I began reading The Charlie Diaz Syndrome as soon as it was released. It caused a reaction in me that I was not accustom to: I didn’t read it all at once. Normally I read a book in under two days. With this story I found myself pausing, closing the book and going over what I’d read before moving on. It deserved…no…it demanded mental mastication. The Charlie Diaz Syndrome (by Michelle Garcia) bleeds outside of any traditional genre. Part romance, part psychological thriller and part something else you just can’t put your finger on – it took me through more twists than I could have predicted. Right now I’m fighting the urge to tell you everything; every scene and every quote. But, what fun would that be? Let’s just begin with the synopsis…
Bianca is barely in her mid-20′s and she’s starting over – again. She’s new to D.C. when she has a chance meeting with Charlie Diaz and the sparks fly. If not for their palpable chemistry, she would have ignored him just like any other unattainable man she’s ever met. She knows her limits. He’s well-dressed and handsome. He’s educated and successful. What would someone like him want with her? It’s through the course of the pain they inflict on each other that she realizes, she really is in love. And it’s through the power of miscommunication that she’s able to admit it to herself…and him.
The synopsis is so amazingly understated. Bianca is more than a woman starting over – she’s a woman fighting the ghosts of her past, trying desperately to retain hold on her present, and rapidly losing sight of her future. Charlie Diaz is the mud clouding the water; a kinetic intruder that first pulls…then pushes. Surrounded by new friends in a new city, Bianca feels outside and unsure of who to confide in when things become warped and twisted between them. Like a child in a fun house – she takes each turn only to find herself up against another mirror reflecting the absolutely bizarre situation she’s been placed in. Strong and unyielding, Bianca fights back her insecurities and strives to make sense of it all. But who can she trust and who will betray her?
True to life, The Charlie Diaz Syndrome starts at a slow roll and then drops you off the precipice of doubt, fear and confusion with no warning. You are immersed in Bianca’s perception – given no hidden glimpses, no clues and no spoilers as you turn the pages. I felt like a private participant, a secret friend trying to help her solve the mystery with each chapter. Like our own personal trials, Bianca must wade through until she can grasp the other side and I was thrilled to be there with her. I felt her anger, her frustration and her self doubt.
“Sometimes I think I’m crazy. Not going crazy. Already there.”
Michelle Garcia uses every day situations like work, love and friendship to build a house of cards that shakes a little more with each page you turn. She grasps hold of you with The Charlie Diaz Syndrome and refuses to let go. Once you enter the world of Bianca, Charlie and the Westin bar crew there is no turning back. But, don’t expect to be satisfied just because you close the cover. Luckily, the second book in the series, English 101, is scheduled for release late 2013. I can only hope that won’t be the end either.