Synopsis from Goodreads: Relationships are complicated even under the best of circumstances. For Varda Dorfman and Tommy Campi, these are the worst of times. Varda, an illegal foods smuggler, has pissed off Anthony Carluccio, the kingpin of the local underground dinner club, and put her plans for the future in serious jeopardy. Her boyfriend Gino won’t quit bugging her to get married, even though his mother hates her. Tommy, Gino’s brother and the ladies man of the family, can’t even introduce the love of his life to anyone: he’s secretly gay and dating the son of Carluccio’s biggest competition. And now Tommy’s getting pressure to go public.
When Carluccio’s hit man turns up dead in Varda’s closet after snacking on poisonous mushrooms, all hell breaks loose. Varda’s running for her life, and since his mother is dating Carluccio, Gino’s convinced the only way to save her life is to finally drag her to the altar. And when people start discovering Tommy’s hush-hush relationship, things really start to get interesting.
Source: Author for a fair and honest review
My Rating: 3½/5 stars
My Review: Aida Brassington’s Chasing Fools is a light read with a bit of romance, humor, suspense, a seriously colorful cast of characters, and some really weird food. Since this adult novel absolutely revolves around its large cast of characters, I thought it best to provide you, dear reader, with a rundown of who’s who.
Varda: cheese maker, Gino’s girlfriend, the bane of Flora’s existence and former exotic food smuggler. Yes, that is apparently a real job ☺ Varda is strong-willed, mouthy, and absolutely in love with two things: cheese and Gino.
Gino: Varda’s hopelessly romantic boyfriend and Tommy’s brother. He’s an Italian Catholic from Philly, with a penchant for wearing really bad clothes and using words like “homeslice”. Gino is sweet and delightfully oblivious to his own lameness; he actually thinks the super saggy pants are awesome and calling people “homeslice” is still cool.
Tommy: Gino’s gay brother and Ryan’s boyfriend. Hands down, Tommy is one of my favorite characters in this novel. He is sweet, feisty, often squeamish, but willing to walk through Hell for his family and friends. Tommy’s strength lies in his love of his family, and his devotion to Ryan. You just can’t help but love him.
Ryan: Tommy’s boyfriend. Ryan is a darling who adores Tommy and is willing to go along with any crazy plan, as long as it helps Tommy and makes him happy. Lucky for Tommy, Ryan’s parents have a shady background, and a skill set that comes in quite handy.
Anthony C.: What a pig! Anthony C. is a slob of a man, who fancies himself a connected man of the mob. Anthony loves weird, exotic, and often seriously disgusting foods, which he has Varda procure for him. Anthony’s girth is only overshadowed by two things: his incompetence and his stupidity. I laughed out loud at a few of his stupid moves.
Flora: Holy cats! Flora is a beautifully written Italian Catholic widow who is absolutely certain Varda is no good for her son Gino. The things that come out of this woman’s mouth are as hysterical as they are offensive. I am not quite sure how Varda manages to control her need to punch Flora in the nose ☺
Nana: I loves me some Nana! While Nana doesn’t make much of an appearance early in the novel, when she does show up, she’s there to play. Nana is a great character with a rather surprising background, and once Nana really gets going, even her family is a bit frightened by her.
The Bottom Line: Chasing Fools plot is a bit weak for me, but it is carried through by the delight of this novel, its characters. Brassington has put together such a weird set of people and circumstances that what initially seems to be rather odd and far-fetched somehow comes together in the end and makes perfect if warped sense. The novel’s pacing is good, the unfolding of the plot is not rushed, and all of the characters have ample time to develop and fit themselves into their place within the plot. With this being said, I still wasn’t jumping up and down with anticipation to plow through this one. I liked
the story, I really liked the characters, but I was left with an overall impression of this being an OK read. Would I recommend it? Yeah, I would, but I honestly can’t say it should be pushed to the top of your TBR list.