Tag: Makedde Vanderwall

The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss

Posted July 19, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 0 Comments

The Fictional Woman by Tara MossTitle: The Fictional Woman (Goodreads)
Author: Tara Moss
Published: Harper Collins, 2014
Pages: 352
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: Book Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Tara Moss is probably best known as a person you hate; she seems to succeed in everything she puts her mind to. Starting her career early at 14 as a model, she always dreamed about being a writer. People don’t encourage others to be writers but they do tell girls that they should be a model. Eventually she did and it took her around the world and taught her so much; the experiences may not have been all good but it helped shape her life. Eventually she did start writing and her Makedde Vanderwall become a huge success and she created this character as a way to explore her interests in forensic science, psychology and other topics. Now with nine fiction novels under her belt Moss is giving us her first non-fiction book, The Fictional Woman.

The title comes from the idea that people tend to dismiss and stereotype others. Tara Moss is no stranger to this; she even took a polygraph test to prove she wrote her books. While this book starts off as a memoir it is important to know that this is a social critique on the world and feminism. The book begins as a memoir to provide context, an understanding of Tara Moss’ struggles and her life helps to see where The Fictional Woman is coming from. Historical context is also an important part of understanding feminism as well, especially when it comes to gender equality and pop culture. There have been plenty of Spiderman (too many), Zorro and James Bond movies but there has never been a Wonder Woman movie. In literature, the female archetype stems from fairy tales and medieval fiction, heroines tend to face off another woman, often older and depicted as witches. Cinderella type stories require a man in order to live happily ever after and even chick-lit often portrays a gender inequality.

The Fictional Woman explores this imbalance in pop-culture and society and looks at where these archetypes come from. It is impressive to see the amount of research and information Tara Moss puts into this book; it really was eye opening. I highly recommend people read this book but I need to warn everyone it may contain triggers. I’m surprised to see that the imbalance is so prominent in today’s society and I am trying to make more of an effort to read a balance of authors. The problem I found is I tend to pick up books without taking notice on of the author, sure it sometimes easy to know their gender but I don’t research authors before starting a book. I try to make more of an effort and it is an area I need to work on.

I’m really impressed with Tara Moss, she seems to succeed in everything she does; sure I’m a little jealous that she is so talented but I still feel motivated. For those interested, I recently wrote a piece about an author event with Tara Moss on Boomerang Books if you are interested, I talk in a lot more detail about The Fictional Woman. I have never spent so much time thinking about feminism, I plan to do a lot more of it, even read some more books on the topic. I might even incorporate it into my critical reviews; it is an important topic that needs to be addressed.

Fetish by Tara Moss

Posted July 18, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Crime, Thriller / 0 Comments

Fetish by Tara MossTitle: Fetish (Goodreads)
Author: Tara Moss
Series: Makedde Vanderwall #1
Published: Harper Collins, 1999
Pages: 325
Genres: Crime, Thriller
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Makedde Vanderwall is a Canadian model on assignment in Australia. The advantage with some work down under is the fact that she will get to see her good friend Cassandra again. But when Cassandra is found dead by Mak she finds herself in a cat and mouse game to catch the killer before he gets her. Who can she trust and where can she turn when she’s a stranger in a land without any friends?

Makadde is a beautiful, tall and curvy international model who is studying psychology; she’s basically Tara Moss. Model turned author Tara Moss gets to live out all the thrilling adventures she wants through Makedde, not that I can say this is semi-autobiographical but I’m sure Moss wishes it was to some extent. These similarities really give this novel an authentic voice, about modelling as well as the creepy stalker (in which I suspect Moss has had) that ends up being the serial killer known as the Stiletto killer.

Not that I have anything against this book, in fact it is off to a good start for a thriller series, I just never really get into this bestseller formula. All those bestselling crime thriller writers enjoy great success with their books but I tend to think they all feel the too similar. I’m glad Tara Moss broke into the market with such success. It opened up to more in this series and then eventually trying something a little different with her Pandora English series.

Makadde is a tough intelligent woman in the wrong place at the wrong time but I would have liked to see her be more of a bad ass and really kick butt. There are times where this side of her comes out but for the rest of the time everything feels very convenient. Moss has a lot of great ideas for Mak and I did think maybe too many of them were pushed into this novel. It’s a case of first novel, too many ideas. I’m not sure what to expect from the rest of the series but I suspect now she has dealt with a similar situation she can now kick ass and take names. I hope to see her become more of a Phillip Marlowe type character, but with a model turned PI it may be wishful thinking and too much to expect.

There are six books in the series but I have to wait till book four for Mak to become  forensic psychologist and PI, so I’m not sure if I want to wait that long. Fetish was an entertaining read and maybe the series is just off to a slow start. Part of me wants to continue and watch Moss grow as a crime writer but part of me thinks there are too many books in the world to read already. I feel conflicted and I’m not sure what to do, I think I will keep Split close by for when I need something light and entertaining. When I say Fetish was just a light read, this doesn’t mean it’s predictable; I found myself surprised with some of the twists this book takes and I never did work out who the killer was till Moss was ready to reveal it.

There are good and bad parts of this book, I was not fully satisfied with the novel but as this is the first novel, I’m willing to forgive far more. I will let you know how I go if I ever pick up Split but for now I would like people to tell me what they thought of Fetish, Makedde Vanderwall and the rest of the series. I need to know if I should continue and what people think of the novels. Tara Moss’s influences include Thomas Harris and Patricia Cornwell  and I can see these influences coming through. I would like to see more of Thomas Harris in her books; I like the dark and psychological elements of the Hannibal series.