Ok, so a little about this series before we start. Trailer Trash is the first book in a companion series to accompany the Rose Gardner Investigation series. The Rose Gardner Investigation series follows on from the brilliant Rose Gardner Mysteries. Are you still with me? I know it sounds complicated, but it’s not really!
In December 2013 Denise Grover Swank released ‘Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes’, the first fabulous book in the Rose Gardner Mysteries series. It is based around the world of the naive and loveable Rose Gardner, a young lady living in Arkansas who has had far from the easiest life. Rose is a good girl; she has rarely strayed from the straight and narrow, never drunk alcohol, never been kissed, and never had many friends. Following the mysterious death of her mother, Rose finds herself at the centre of the investigations and somehow, in a bid to clear her name, becomes unwittingly caught up in the criminal underworld of small town Henryetta. She befriends criminals, and meets the wonderful Neely Kate. Neely Kate is the polar opposite to Rose, she was brought up on a trailer park, she has had a pretty rough time, she has been through a lot and seen a lot, she has a huge heart, and she takes Rose under her wing.
‘Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes’ was followed by a further 8 books and a handful of supporting novellas which gave a glimpse into the story from the perspective of other characters. These books are packed full of cliches, humour, tragedy, cliffhangers…. they are about friendship, family, loyalty, integrity, love, romance, and a very windy dog; they are about the ties that hold us together and the things that break us in half; theyare the chocolate that gets better with every bite. They are my guilty pleasure, and I have awaited the release of each one with baited breath wondering what new misadventure would befall Rose, and her sidekick. They are unpredictable; there is no way at all of knowing how each one will end, they are completely unique, heart-rendering, tear jerking, laugh out loud, witty, clever…. and I was gutted to find that ‘Thirty-Six and a Half Motives’ was to be the last one.
Ms Grover-Swank came to the rescue with the start of a new series, the Rose Gardner Investigations. A whole new series with Rose still at the centre, aided, abetted, encouraged and supported by the ever loyal Neely Kate, but now alittle more worldly wise. Rose is less naive, she is able to look after herself, she is feisty, she has learned from her friend and from her underworld dealings, but she is still the funny, loveable, and more than a little crazy Rose. All this time not much is known about Neely Kate’s story. She is a central figure through out, yet her past, is firmly in her past; occasionally a glimpse is given, we know she lives with her Granny and has an extensive list of cousins, but never anything huge. Now, with the release of ‘Trailer Trash ‘, comes her time to come to the fore. This was originally meant as a novella to accompany the Investigations series, but I was sooo delighted to learn that Neely Kate is getting a series of her own.
‘Trailer Trash’ adds a whole new dimension to the Rose stories. It is darker, grittier, and steamier, while holding onto all the things that make the original series so good; that same easy reading style, the solid friendships, and the emphasis that no book should ever be judged by its cover – everyone has a story, it is what shapes them. In this new story, Grover-Swank leads us away from Henryetta, and takes Nealy Kate on a journey back to her roots in Oklahoma and things that she has kept hidden for so long; the location change is important because it gives Neely Kate the chance to truly shine on her own, and to develop new relationships. I have loved learning more about Neely Kate, she has been a fabulous character throughout, but now she has a starring role. In ‘Trailer Trash’. We are introduced to a more vulnerable Neely Kate than we have seen before. She is concerned that people will change their opinion of her once they really know about her and what she has done, but she knows that to escape her past she must confront it head on, which she does with strength and vigour, accompanied by a familiar face backing her up every single step of the way.
I cannot wait to read more of Neely Kate’s adventures, both as she continues ripping her own skeletons out of cupboards, and accompanied by Rose in the Rose Gardner Investigations.