Ankh, Jerry, Cecily, Vera, Clara,
Steven, Leeanne, Elise, Stan
The first is that of Jerry. Jerry is a developmentally disabled man who works as a cleaner in his local coffee shop. Jerry is looking forward to the annual trip to the zoo which he goes on every month or so with his care centre. He is excited to see two things at the zoo, a pregnant Manatee called Ankh and his friend Janelle (who Jerry has a crush on). But Jerry’s day is spoiled when he learns that he will not be able to see either of them and storms off in a fit of rage! In his anger and disappointment, Jerry doesn’t realise that he has stumbled into two con-men’s scheme to cause widespread blackouts throughout the city. The two con-men (Stan and Craig) hold Jerry prisoner until their plan is complete!
The second main storyline in the book is that of Elise, Vera, Clara and the Environmental Retreat Centre (ERC). The centre is a non-profitable organisation that helps promote looking after the environment, where volunteers live within the centre and are there for any occasion. The ERC is run by two sisters Vera and Clara (Jerry’s aunts). Vera is the leader of the volunteers and always puts the needs of the centre before her own. Clara is worried. Many other non-profit agencies have been investigated and some even named as cults! Clara does not want this to happen to the ERC. With the support of the board members (and behind Vera’s back) Clara arranges an internal investigation from an independent detective agency to be held to prove the ERC is not a cult. The detective agency sends Elise to pose as a volunteer in the centre. Elise is looking for ten checkpoints that prove or don’t prove the ERC is a cult, but what she finds is not what she is expecting.
The third and final storyline is that of Steven. Steven is a twenty nine year old environmental management lecturer who has just completed the divorce from his wife Leeanne (who is Ankh’s vet). The divorce is hard for both Steven and Leeanne and is made harder by the fact Leeanne is under a lot of pressure from Ankh’s pregnancy! Steven’s students Cecily, Janelle, Gavin and Leonard are all studying hard for their final exams. As a means to get extra credit for their final grade, the students are allowed to volunteer for the ERC. However when they start their work, the students (and Elise) soon find that something is amiss and go in search of what is causing the blackouts in the city.
I thought this book was great! The way Cap wrote it was amazing and it must have taken him forever to work out how each character's story line would link back to Ankh and her pregnancy, I think the title Tangled Ties really describes this book. I have to admit that when I started reading the book, all of the different story lines did confuse me and I had trouble remembering which character was which! But after a few pages I really got into the flow of the book and these problems disappeared! It was funny, entertaining and well written like any good book should be and I’m glad I read it!
I think that if you like Mark Haddon's The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time or if you are a fan of writers such as Nick Hornby you would love this book! With The Curious Case, I think there is a similarity with the main characters both having mental disorders and like Hornby, the characters in Tangled Tales are very quirky! This was a great book and a great read, thank you Kalen for getting in touch and introducing me to your work!
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