Sunday, February 15, 2015

Burt Weisbourd's TEASER Spotlight & Review


Teaser, the sequel to Inside Passage, takes Corey and Abe into the interconnected worlds of private school kids and the runaways who roam Seattle's streets. Billy attends the Olympic Academy, where two friends, Maisie and Aaron, are experimenting with sex and drugs. They've become close to Star, a streetwise seductress who leads them down a treacherous path. Despite the best efforts of Abe and Corey, Maisie is abducted by the diabolical “Teaser,” a man determined to take revenge on her father, his former cellmate. Teaser is a mystery to everyone except Abe and Corey, who alone realize what they must do to rescue Maisie. They contrive a plan that shocks even them.

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My thoughts on TEASER... 4.5 stars

Corey, Abe, Billy, and Jesse are back. Corey is still intense and razor sharp but she’s no longer balanced on the hairy edge. She’s found her niche, searching for missing teens and standing up for them once found.

Abe still doesn’t realize he’s started a fire in the trash can with his pipe ashes but notices every detail and nuance of the people around him.

Billy is settling into his new school, Olympic Academy, and is a teen any one would proudly call their own.

Jesse…well, Jesse is Jesse. A bit of her history is revealed that explains a lot. I don’t really like her but admit she comes through in a pinch. Her assistance carries a high price tag though…

One of my favorite aspects of the Corey Logan series is the characters. Corey, Abe, and even Billy when it comes down to it, are true to themselves. They neither need nor want approval and are unapologetic. Really love that about them. They’re characters I’d want as friends, even though Corey can be on the scary side sometimes.

TEASER takes place almost two years after Inside Passage. It can be read as a stand-alone but I seriously recommend you read Inside Passage. Your understanding and appreciation of Corey, Abe, Billy, and Jesse will be deeper. Their relationships are complex and there’s a lot of water under those bridges.

Billy’s friends, Aaron and Maisie, are privileged teens whose parents actively encourage them to “explore and experiment” within the confines of “safe sex, designated drivers, and checking in”.

This excerpt, Corey and Abe discussing Corey’s worries about Billy’s school Olympic Academy and the difference between herself and the majority of the parents highlights perfectly the contrast between the above parenting style and Corey’s. Personally, I fall with Corey.
“Sorry. Bear with me. I’m starting to get this. What I think is that at Olympic, they hand down all these ideas about how to be, they tell these kids what they should feel, then they leave them to work it out on their own. I mean they made Billy sign a contract about being a good person, told him ‘bisexuality was an option,’ but no one notices when he’s lonely or low. It scares me. There’s no safety net. No regular, reliable, grounded conversation. The grown-ups come on so righteous, so certain of where these kids need to go, what they need to be, and then they don’t even see it when a kid feels bad.”
Abe was looking at the fire. “What’s worse, “ he turned, “I’m afraid the kids know that.”
“Yeah, they do. He’s my son, Abe. No one in my family has ever gone to college. His grandmother raised me o a fishing boat…”
“How old were you when she died?”
“Seventeen. Same as Billy. And don’t start that psycho mumbo jumbo with me.”
“Toby asked Billy to volunteer at a shelter in a church on Broadway. He said it would look good on his college applications. When he was locked out of foster care, Billy used to sleep at that shelter. When I explained that to Toby he said, ‘Not to worry. The take away from Billy’s time in foster care and Juvie is that it will help his story for an Ivy.’ His words—no kidding.” She took Abe’s hand. “Billy won’t tell his friends we go duck hunting. And he eats tofu burgers. I didn’t know what tofu was until he started at that school.”
“Your son is just like you.”
“You think so?”
“Forget what he eats. Watch how he thinks, how he handles hard things—in every important way, he’s his mother’s son.”
Aaron’s dad, Toby, is the dean of Olympic Academy. Aaron realizes and understands exactly the point Corey is making to Abe…..
Aaron walked west, preoccupied. Mostly, he was thinking about lying. What was a real lie? Was it a lie when you said one thing and did something else? His dad did that all the time without even knowing it.
There was another thing. His dad was smart, he knew that. But how could such a smart guy understand something so well at a distance, the miss that same thing right in front of his own nose? Like when his dad gave these lectures about all the subtle ways we exclude people because of racial differences. He really saw how that worked. And he was right. But he didn’t even notice it when everyone treated Josey Tompkins like shit--no one would talk to her or eat lunch with her—because she was new and fat. Or when Henry Lewis didn’t get invited to class parties because he was geeky and liked country music. Stuff like that happened at school all the time, and no one ever said anything. Maybe it didn’t seem important enough. It was important to Josey and Henry though.
Maisie’s manipulation of Amber and Verlaine, her mother and step-dad…..
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, “ Abe replied. He loosened his tie. Maisie was in charge here, insidiously, and it was part of her problem. Someone in her family would have to stand up to her, then ride out that storm. He could help with that. He couldn’t make them do it though. 
And a few minutes later….
Abe looked up at Verlaine. His own face was drawn. “It is your decision. But I’m asking you to please reconsider.”
Verlaine put a hand on Abe’s shoulder, basking in Maisie’s approval. “I think it’s better for our family to wait.
“No, it’s not.” They had to hear this. “I’m not sure what these young people are involved with. But I’m sure that you’re being manipulated. And although you may think you’re showing Maisie how much you love her, in fact, you’re only confirming that you’re easily deceived—“
When Aaron and Maisie become involved with the street wise Star and begin exploring sex and drugs, within the confines laid out of course, the situation turns deadly.
For me TEASER was a difficult read. Parenting styles, from the horrific to ‘let them grow like weeds’ are at the heart of TEASER. Some monsters are born while others are created. There’s a lot of ugly truth here and it’s not made palatable with humor, it’s just laid out there in black and white. TEASER made my heart hurt. But thankfully all that ugliness is balanced by the beauty of hope and inspiration.

TEASER is dark, frightening, and suspenseful (especially as a parent) but there’s light at the end…
TEASER is a highly recommended read.

I’m sincerely anticipating the third in the Corey Logan trilogy while being greatly disappointed there will be only three.

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Burt Weissbourd writes character-driven thrillers. Reviewers describe his work as “brilliantly detailed, evocative … thrillingly suspenseful.” “His descriptions are luscious.” “An incredibly strong and intelligent female protagonist.” “[His] dark characters rank with some of Koontz’s and King’s worst imaginaries.”
Burt began his career producing movies, working closely with screenwriters, then writing his own screenplays.
A newcomer to Hollywood, he approached writers whose movies he loved — movies such as “Klute,” “Two for the Road,” and “Ordinary People” — and worked with those writers and others, including working with Ross Macdonald, a legend in crime fiction, on his only screenplay.
This was the “New Hollywood” (1967 – 1980), and he found writers whose work grabbed viewers viscerally, not with explosions but with multi-dimensional characters who would draw you into a deeply moving story.
Savvy actors wanted to play finely drawn characters in compelling stories, and before long, Burt was developing screenplays, working directly with Robert Redford, Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Sally Field, and Jill Clayburg, among others.
As a producer developing a screenplay, he looked for stories with strong, complex characters and a “rich stew” — that is to say, a situation with conflict, emotional intensity, and the potential to evolve in unexpected ways. This is exactly what he tries to create for the books he writes.

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