Oh my goodness!!! I finished it!!! And I'm stunned beyond reason! I haven't felt like this ever since I read "Shatter Me" a couple of months ago. "The Stuttering Tattoo" was a phenomenon all on its own. I LOVED IT.
First and foremost, it was grammar friendly. That is, it was typo-clean. Well, I did notice one recurring typo that kind of bugged me: in several places the author said "worst" instead of "worse", but I'm not going to be that picky. I've 5-starred books with much more grammar problems just because they were freaking awesome. And this one is on the same rack with the awesome books.
Second point I want to make is that not a single word was out of place. Not a single sentence was too much. Nothing was overdone, everything was measured and the story was very well built. So well in fact that not a single clue was given outside of it's place and time. This bugged be big time, because it urged me to read on and on until I was at the last page!!! But that's something every book should have - the ability to make the readers turn the page.
The mystery was thrilling to the point that I almost bit my nails off. I was like a ball of wound up nerves waiting to be released out of the ever growing tension. And omg, the tension!!!! It was amazing how well it was built! Ever increasing, and always intriguing. I was impressed at how one page could be absolutely hilarious, and the next one could make me pull my hair out one by one.
At times I felt frustrated that I didn't know what the main character, Steven was doing, what plans he was making, but that only made it better when I was allowed to figure it out on my own.
The action, the emotions they were so real, that I felt them myself. When Steven jumped, I was kind of jumping too. When he was thrilled, I was as well.
The many twists and turns had my attention throughout the whole novel, in a way that I'd never thought possible. I was attentive for clues, and was grinning like an idiot when I was able to find them.
There was a romance as well. It wasn't the main part of the story. It was rather kind of in the background. But I've never seen a romance so strongly built, that even in the background it's actually the backbone that pushes the story forward. Without it, none of the action would've occurred. So, I loved that aspect as well.
To sum it up: this book was nothing short of BRILLIANT.
*Steven: I didn't feel a single drop of pity for him because of his stuttering problem. Truth is, this problem made him stronger. And I LOVE strong characters - they're what makes a story really alive. I loved how bold he was, though he wasn't fearless. He was determined, caring and ready to risk his life and safety for that of the people he loved. True, at some times he was risking a lot, but that only made him more worthy.
*Carlos: He was my favorite. Not because he was any better than Steven. In fact he wasn't. He was a drug dealer's enforcer, and a murderer. Of course, he's put all that behind. He's really funny, fearless and brave. He's got Steven's back, even when he has to do things he doesn't like. Carlos is the perfect latino guy: bad, thrilling and completely swoon worthy. His experience with the gangs has made him resourceful, quick and quiet. The perfect assassin. The perfect friend. Scary, but loyal to the grave.
*Becky: Well, given all that she's been through, I could totally sympathize with her. She was scared and for a good reason. But she was also brave in her own way. That was another strong character.
*Steve's father: he wasn't clueless, but I'm sure he could've paid more attention to his son. I liked what he did at the morgue - not many parents would have the guts. Very strong character too.
I guess I could write some more, but there's really no point. Just get the book and read it. That's the only way you'll know what I'm talking about. :)
My favorite quotes:
I can see her weighing her response, concentrating like a cliff diver studying the ebb and flow of the tide.
"Um, well... could you at least give me an idea?"
"Two weeks give or take a week or two.”
"What... what are you doing here?"
He's shaking his head as he walks my way; a steaming coffee mug is in his hand.
"What am I doing here? I live here."
"Y-you do? How did I get here?"
He starts to laugh. "You don't remember?"
"No... I really don't."
He places the mug in front of me. "You called me on your cell. I found you spaced out of your mind in an alley behind the bar. You were talking to a cat. You claimed it was your mother."
I start walking toward my bike with renewed purpose.
"I don't think I need any help to knock on a door."
Carlos yells, "Be careful, my friend. The problem with knocking on doors is you're never quite sure who's going to be on the other side."
When we get to the door I reach for the doorbell but Carlos steps in front of me, grins and then starts banging on the front door with all of his might. The door shakes and his pounding thunders throughout the house. (...) We must be the world's loudest burglars.
I shout, "Why are you pounding so hard?"
His grin gets even larger. "If anyone's home, they'll definitely answer that knock. If nobody's home what difference does it make?"
I'm thinking about coffee and dessert when my phone rings. I don't recognize the number.
"Bishop!" It's Coach Chase. I almost forgot that I gave him my number. I don't want my dad to know who's on the phone. That would raise all kinds of questions requiring evasive answers.
"Hey... buddy... um, how's it going?"
"Today, I'm the real me." She lifts her chin toward the large white beer tent. "How about a couple of beers?"
"Do you have an ID?"
She laughs and pulls me toward the tent. "Honey, I've got a pocket full of them."