Laura Lee will award a randomly drawn commenter a digital copy of IDENTITY THEFT
A bored employee in a rock star's office begins an online relationship with a fan in the guise of his boss and sets off a chain of events he cannot control.
Candi Tavris is on the verge of turning 30, she works in the packaging department of a company that is downsizing and she is hounded by calls from creditors who mispronounce her name. She wakes up every morning praying that the folks at Life Lock will perform their work in reverse and give her "identity" to someone else. Her younger sister, never a serious student, married a rich executive and lives in a mansion.
Candi's only solace is escaping into the music and image of the 80s pop star Blast.
Ethan Penn, a 22 year-old college dropout who smokes pot and lives in his mother's basement, works in the rock star's office. (His desk sits under a framed gold record with a dead spider caught in the glass.)
His boss, whose real name is Ollie Thomas, is as socially awkward off stage as he is charismatic on stage. He is depressed about his pending divorce. His greatest fame is behind him, his biggest hit "Partly Cloudy Thursday (Blast With Me)" was a cliched monstrosity written to please record executives. His rock n' roll lifestyle mostly consists of finding ways to keep his laundry from stinking while on the road and trying to remain anonymous while buying Preparation-H.
Blast assigns the task of keeping up with his social networking to Ethan. Ethan starts to correspond with Candi through e-mail and chats in the guise of the rock star. The conversation soon becomes steamy. The game spirals out of control when Blast performs a concert in Candi's hometown and Candi is mistaken first for a groupie and then for a delusional stalker.
Candi must try to prove (and retain) her sanity. Ethan must decide whether to risk jail by telling the truth. A terrified Ollie has to come to terms with his relationship with his Blast character and the consequences of his fame.
“This call may be monitored...”
When she saw the 800 number on the caller ID, Candi had not wanted to pick up the phone, but she had been through the routine long enough to know that the only way to stop them from harassing you was to talk to them. She had just come home from work and was still dressed in a green fitted blazer and matching slacks. The outfit had looked much better in the catalog on the size 2 model than on her size 12 frame. She plopped down on the couch, kicked off her uncomfortable high heel shoes, and waited to be connected to a human being.
“Hello, my name is Susan,” said the caller.
“Your name is not Susan,” Candi wanted to say. “How is the weather in Bangalore?” She didn't say that, though. She sat and waited for “Susan” to finish her script.
“I am calling in regards to your Capital One card. Your payment of $105 is five days late. Can you make that payment today to bring your account current?”
She wanted to say, “If I could, don't you think I would have?” There was really no point in saying anything like that. In harried moods, she had tried. It just made the call last longer.
“No,” she said.
“When will you be able to make that payment?”
“August 5th,” she said with a tone of certainty. She didn't know if she would be able to make the payment then, but the woman on the line didn't care about that. She just needed to plug a date into the computer. Once the right boxes were checked, Capital One would leave her alone for a while.
Candi also understood that “Susan”'s boss-- the bank--didn't really care either. They were thrilled her payment was late because it meant they could charge her late fees and jack up her rates. So everyone was happy. They just had to do this little bit of theater from time to time. Sometimes it amazed her to think they hired someone half a world away for this charade. Years of computer science and the space program had to happen in order for a woman in India to bully an office worker in suburban San Diego about a $100 payment that was five days late.
As she confirmed her address and phone number with the caller, Candi played with her shoulder-length, brown hair. She half-consciously examined each strand checking for split ends and light color. She had found a couple of grays that morning. She tried to convince herself they had actually been blonde hairs. Age 29 was far too early to start finding grays.
When Susan's computer form was filled out and everyone had played their roles, Candi unplugged the phone from the wall. She wasn't in the mood to act out that particular bit of Kabuki again today.
She turned on the television and let it play in the background as she heated up her dinner-- leftover Little Caesar’s Pizza. ($5 for a large.) They key to reheating pizza without making the dough gummy is to put it in the oven and not the microwave. Candi set the oven to 450, pulled out a baking sheet, covered it with a roll of aluminum foil and plopped two slices on top but she tossed the tray into the oven before it had a chance to preheat.
Candi didn't have a kitchen exactly. It was more of a food-making area. Her apartment consisted three rooms. The front room, in which she was standing, was a combination living, dining, kitchen space. The oven and refrigerator were in the back corner a few steps from the television and couch. Her bedroom was just behind the kitchenette through a doorway. If you needed the bathroom, you had to walk through the bedroom to get there. The bathroom, curiously, was almost as large as the living room.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Metro Detroit native Laura Lee divides her time equally between writing and producing ballet educational tours with her partner, the artistic director of the Russian National Ballet Foundation. She is the author of more than a dozen non-fiction books with such publishers as Harper Collins, Reader’s Digest, Running Press, Broadway Books, Lyons Press and Black Dog and Leventhal. Her Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation has sold more than 85,000 copies. She has also written two collections of poetry, and a children’s book (A Child’s Introduction to Ballet). She brings to her writing a unique background as a radio announcer, improvisational comic and one-time professional mime.
The San Francisco Chronicle has said of her work, “Lee’s dry, humorous tone makes her a charming companion… She has a penchant for wordplay that is irresistible.”
Angel is her first novel. Read more about the book at http://angelthenovel.carbonmade.com/.