Review: Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

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I loved Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway‘s first collaborative work, The Hooker and the Hermit. I loved it so much, I’ve already downloaded their second collab, The Player and the Pixie, on to my e-reader. I’m saving it for a rainy day, though, since I’ve recently gone thru a patch of book clunkers that ought to have been burned, instead of published, electronically or otherwise. I loved “Hooker and Hermit” so much that I’ve also bought all of Ms. Cosway’s solo works. (If you need proof of my obsession, please see here, here, here, here, and here.)

This, however, is the first solo Penny Reid story I’ve read. I am convinced that the self-titled thought-ninja (look for her website on Google) is a secret genius. She eluded my clutches for more than a year, before I finally, stupidly, asked myself: who is Penny Reid? I read her author’s bio, and thought: okay, she’s very weird. Do I really want to shell out $2.99 on Amazon for a weirdo’s book? Judging purely on the book cover alone, a cynical and skin-deep reader would think “no.” But, the REAL answer is: yes, goddammit, yes. It was $2.99 well spent.

She’s an endearing nerd, in her mid-twenties, who has her heart and emotions hidden behind The Great Wall of Protect Thyself.

Janie Morris, the heroine of “Neanderthal Seeks Human,” is as weird as her creator. She’s an endearing nerd, in her mid-twenties, who has her heart and emotions hidden behind The Great Wall of Protect Thyself. She has, luckily enough, found six great friends, who oddly enough, are in a knitting group with her. Janie, however, does not knit. From the very first scene where I met Janie, I fell in love with the girl. How could I not? Janie was stuck sitting on her office toilet, and found herself WITHOUT ANY TOILET PAPER, after she’s just taken a crap. E-P-I-C. She proceeds to have a Murphy’s Law kind of day, to end all other Murphy-oriented days.

Her hero, on the other hand, Quinn Sullivan, is as mysterious as Janie is weird…….. no, wait, make that weird, too. He owns a security management company, engaging in high-tech security and asset protection (e.g., bodyguard and security guard services). We all meet Quinn at the same time Janie did – he was working/posing as a security guard at her office’s building. Why a CEO/COO/CFO/CIO (that’s all his official company titles) would do that, I don’t know. He gave his reason to Janie in the book, but I’m still skeptical. Hey, it made for a great twist in Janie and Quinn’s love story, though, so whatever works.

There were a couple of gaps in the story, I must admit, if I were to nitpick here.

  • First, Quinn instructs his people to assign only corporate accounts to Janie when she started working for his company. Private accounts are not for Janie’s eyes. He got testy when his people tried to recommend Janie to work on the said private accounts. Why? Ms. Reid and Quinn never told us.
  • Second, how did Janie’s knitting group come together? I know Janie and Elizabeth were childhood friends. Another member, Kat, must have been brought into the group by Janie, as they were co-workers at Janie’s first job. The rest? I’m not sure.

Note: These gaps are highly negligible and you should ignore that part of this blog post.

Typically, I hate lengthy inner monologues in my books. However, Ms. Reid made Janie’s excessive verbal diarrhea, extremely prolonged monologues, and general weirdness (she “does not believe in cellphones”) necessary for the reader to understand her character. Her cute quirks not only endeared her to Quinn, but to me, as well. This, however, does not mean that I can tolerate a real-life Janie. I suspect I’ll be ninja-kicking her head off her torso if she were real. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy I bought this book and warily hope that the next installment in Ms. Reid’s “Knitting in the City” series would be just as good, if not better.

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