Outskirts Press (2020)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (10/2020)
Angie and Jan are two sisters who have very distinctive personalities. Both women carry deep scars from growing up with an abusive, alcoholic mother. The term SCABS stands for Sudden Crazy Ass Bitch Syndrome. This term was coined because of their mother’s violent outbursts. The two sisters find themselves teaming up when Angie’s childhood friend Gloria misses their high school reunion and appears to have completely disappeared. Along the way, they discover that her disappearance appears to be linked to a real estate fraud case that Gloria was researching as an investigative reporter. The sisters come in contact with a lot of colorful characters as they take off on a humorous but dangerous adventure.
“SCABS: Sudden Crazy Ass Bitch Syndrome,” by Isabella Ornot is a fun story that often had me laughing out loud, usually loud enough to wake my dogs up. Unfortunately, I was unable to share the humor with them. The author impressed me with her story, doing a fantastic job of creating a cast of eccentric characters who helped round out the dialogue.
Despite the humor there was an undercurrent of darkness that include grief, sadness and anger that shadowed the sisters’ family due to their abusive childhood. This aspect of the story did not detract nor seem out of place because it was obvious that the two protagonists chose a different path from the one in which they were raised. Even though one of the main character was upset about inheriting her mother’s SCABS, she really only had it appear when she was in an extremely volatile situation. This was unlike her mother who blew up over trivial things. Often times I found myself cheering along as the episodes surfaced because they helped the heroine survive. And some of them were pretty entertaining. The relationship between the heroine and her husband was also heartwarming and sweet. When she encountered a temptation, she held strong to her values and while the devil in me wanted her to give in, it was nice to see that she stayed strong.
I hope that there is a future novel in the works with these characters because it would be fun to follow along on another adventure. “SCABS” would make a perfect selection for a reader’s group. Entertaining discussions are guaranteed to follow!