The Law of Unintended Consequences and a revisited taco recipe

In 2019, I received a free review copy of Deep Breathing by G. Davies Jandrey.  I loved this quirky little novel and wrote a pretty glowing review.  (You can read it here.)  This started an email correspondence with the author which leads me to the reason for today’s post.   Jandrey has a new book out and she again offered me a copy to review.

About the book:

It’s Tucson, it’s summer, and it is stinking hot.  Sturdy, stalwart Detective Marie Stransky has returned to work after the birth of her fifth baby, another girl, to find that “he’s back.”  Called to Santa Rita Park, a gathering place for the homeless and addicted, Marie studies the strangled body of a young woman.  The cigarette burn on her wrist pegs her as a victim of a stalker that has already killed two homeless women. Then there is the young Mexican woman found shot in a wash.  Homicide department head, Lieutenant Carl Lindgrin, a man Marie loves to hate, dismisses the murder as gang related, but the tattoo of a unicorn on the girl’s shoulder visible in the autopsy photo gives Marie pause.  What self-respecting gangbanger has a tattoo of a unicorn?  And the bodies pile up.

Filled with Gayle Jandrey’s usual humor, dark and otherwise, and her typical array of quirky characters, The Law of Unintended Consequences, is  a  suspenseful and compelling read.

About the author:

Although she writes under the name G. Davies Jandrey, friends call her Gayle. She is a retired educator, poet and writer of fiction. For five seasons, Gayle worked as a fire lookout in the Saguaro National Park and Chiricahua National Monument. It was in these “sky islands” that she first learned to love the richness and diversity of southern Arizona. This double life, one spent teaching teens, the other focused on natural history, informs both her poetry and prose and provides the reader with an experience as complex and rewarding as the environments in which they incubated.

She makes her home with her husband, Fritz on the desert outskirts of Tucson, Arizona. When not at her desk writing, or in the kitchen cooking, she can usually be found in her garden.

To read samples of her novels, A Garden of AloesJourney through an Arid LandA Small Saving Grace or The Millipede and Other Less Embraceable Friends, a children’s natural history, visit her website:

What I thought…

The Law of Unintended Consequences is a crime drama with a heart.    It’s as if Billie Letts and Fannie Flagg wrote a serial-killer thriller.

The main character, Marie, is a  lactating detective and mother of five with a marriage possibly on the rocks.  Jandrey draws other memorable characters that assist Marie.  Coco, a beautiful private detective and police academy drop out (with a side gig on the side), has a heart of gold when pushed.  Jandrey also includes the Weird Sisters, stoic women living day-by-day and hand-to-mouth.  All of these strong women become “partners in crime.”

Everyone seems to have some sort of secret from their past that comes to light as the search for a serial killer continues.  There’s much more drama here with the personal lives than with the crime solving aspect of the novel.

As with her previous book, Deep Breathing, Jandrey portrays the disenfranchised with dignity and strength.  She does so in a way that is realistic, a portrayal of resolve and empowerment, not with despair or hopelessness or misplaced sympathy.   There’s not a lack of humor in the tale as well, especially as Marie tries to be supportive of her husband’s dream of writing sci-fi and his over-zealous descriptions of alien breasts.    There’s also Marie’s portable and humming breast pump that causes a lot of characters to pause.

Besides her detective duties, Marie deals with more than one family drama.  For guidance, she “would ask herself what would her mother do and then do the opposite” (26).  Haven’t we all been there with one family member or another?

Jandrey is a master of hitting characterization dead-on, especially when we first meet Lindgrin, Marie’s supervisor.

Lindgrin, his steel gray hair slicked back with what looked to be Gorilla Snot, was at his desk, a framed photo of him and the governor the only personal item amid a pile of papers and a toppled stack of manila folders. (22)

Can you not just picture this greaseball of a boss?   I was also aptly able to picture Marie’s lovable police buddy, Stedman, with his Big Gulps and candy bars.

Marie, Coco, and the Weird Sisters ultimately triumph and stop the serial killer, but they also discover new outlooks and lives, hopefully ones that will bring them much fulfillment and happiness.

My only criticism would be the mention of Abby, the heroine of Deep Breathing.   I’m glad I got to see Abby again (in a relationship with a lovable cop), but I’m not sure if I had not read Jandrey’s first book I would have picked up on why Abby was even mentioned.

I would recommend this book.  It’s a short read but thought provoking on many different levels.

Any review of this book would be incomplete without a mention of Marie’s briefcase that seems to be with her at every crime scene.  Not only does Marie pull enough water bottles out of it for everyone on site, she also can produce pliers, bananas, granola bars, juice boxes, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, read and green salsa, Scope, tissues, and Butterfingers.    That’s got to be a helluva briefcase!

The Food:

As previously mentioned, Marie’s briefcase holds a lot of gear, including food.  There’s some takeout food as well.  But for the sake of timeliness to get this post up, I want to revisit a recipe that was inspired from the Deep Breathing review.  It’s worth a revisit.

Crunchy Cauliflower Tacos with Avocado Spicy Mayo (and a great book suggestion)


I look forward to Jandrey’s next book.  Perhaps she will have Marie, Coco and Abby team up!

I was also honored to write one of the blurbs for Jandrey’s latest book:

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