Most people think riot squad officer Taylor Jameson is an asshole. Little do they know his apparent indifference stems from having a meddlesome family always butting into his business. And little does Taylor know he’s about to stumble into a situation that’ll make indifference impossible.
When everything goes horribly wrong at a political rally on a harbour ferry, Taylor encounters Sietta Salisbury. The son of a wealthy politician, Sietta is a revered—but presumed dead—musician, and an enigma who is so strange, Taylor is compelled to look into his background. What he discovers draws him into a bizarre mess of prisoners, politics, and attempted murder that makes him realise what he’s been missing.
Falling in love isn’t hard. Trying to convince someone else you’re worth loving despite your crazy family and the people trying to kill you? That’s a whole other can of worms.
Thanks for allowing me to visit today to talk about Fishy Riot. Since it hasn’t been released yet (though a few folks seem to have it on bail) it’s hard to know what to talk about, so I thought I would talk briefly about the main romance, because if you’re reading a romance novel that’s probably the bit you’re interested in (one would think).
Taylor and Sietta are an odd pair. On the surface they have very little in common. Their families have no similarities, they had completely different upbringings, they have no shared interests and as far as I’m aware the only thing they agree on in the book is that they both like the colour blue. To a lot of people I think that’s going to seem as odd as how quickly they’re drawn into a partnership together, but that has a lot to do with the way we are taught to understand love.
Love takes time, right? It grows, and it flourishes and it’s hard but amazing and you’ll fight but have amazing make up sex and all through it you’ll just know that they’re ‘the one’ and the world is amazing? You’ll have all these things in common, and you’ll love the same food and the same music and the same people and if you don’t then, hey, opposites attract and you’ll eventually rub off on each other and live happy ever after? Those are the messages we get about love, from our friends, our relatives, TV, movies, society…wherever. But how often to those ideas translate into true love affairs? I can’t see much of that in any of the relationships I’ve been in, nor in the relationships of my friends.
It’s quite possible I’m just really, really weird and have surrounded myself with similarly strange and wonderful people. These wildly outrageous individuals influence my perceptions of people and how we interact, and so Taylor and Sietta don’t actually seem that odd to me. If they’re odd to you that’s totally fine, by the way. It’s a pretty odd little book. The point is, I have immediate reactions to people I meet. I know if I like them or not, and if we’re going to be friends, or not, and if I ever want to see them even across a crowded room or will one day likely plot their demise. They’re either interesting or bore me to tears. Amazingly personable or irritating beyond belief. It’s generally a one conversation thing, and my circle of friends is small and intimate as a result but that works for us.
When Taylor and Sietta meet it’s with that same immediacy of understanding. The conversation is good, the physical attraction is there, and underlying the interaction is that comprehension that they’re ‘my people’ and it’s as simple as that. How that grows and where they take it from there is the natural evolution of relationships without the indecision. Relationships, romantic or otherwise, either grow or wither. Taylor and Sietta choose to build with each interaction, and yes it’s fast but while they are very different people the commonality in them is their uncompromising dedication to self-awareness. They know they’ve found something special, that each sees something in the other they want and need, and they don’t waste time questioning. Perhaps that’s another thing they have in common; they throw themselves completely into things, fearless of failure.
There are a lot of books out there about terrible things that break good people, but Fishy Riot is not one of those stories. The whole point is that terrible things happen all the time, but we can choose to change that. Yes, Sietta endures horrible things but to what degree he endures is partly his decision. He could walk away at any time but chooses not to because he believes he can create change and it’s that choice that allows his resilience to prosper. He has PTSD, and it filters through subtly in his interactions, but it’s not the out of control life consuming monster it’s often displayed as. It’s subtle and it won’t thrive because in Taylor, Sietta has a lifeline to normalcy. The Jameson’s don’t treat him like he’s broken, to them he is just Sietta and that’s what he needs.
There’s a lot of silliness in Fishy Riot, but I don’t think knowing your own mind is silly. I don’t think fighting for what you want is silly. I don’t think it’s silly to want to make change. And I guess that’s the small piece of me that has found its way into the relationship between Taylor and Sietta. We’re pretty simply people, and once we decide something there’s no going back.
One can only hope you decide the book is worth finishing once you start it.
Lindsey Black lives in Darwin, Australia, where the weather report permanently reads ‘humidity at 100%, only going to get worse’ for ten months of the year and ‘monsoon at 4:00 p.m. for exactly fifteen minutes’ for the remaining two. Between teaching and studying full-time, she escapes this oppressive environment to bushwalk for weeks on end wherever the mobile phone reception has zero bars for as long as possible and the weather report reads something along the lines of ‘blizzard likely.’ She enjoys martial arts, music, and mayhem, which explains the untidy state of her home where she attempts to write while splitting her minimal amounts of spare time between her incredulous husband, lazy Chinchilla cat, and crazed Siberian husky. If you expect her to sit and have a chat, it’s best to have a matcha green tea latte with almond milk on hand and your hiking boots within reach. Oh, and be sure to bring a guitar for impromptu jam sessions.