Book 3 Of Suzanne Falter’s Oaktown Girls Series: Destined

Book three of Suzanne Falter's Oaktown Girls series: Destined

Destiny rules in the Oaktown Girls series

In this, the third of the ‘Oaktown Girls’ series, following on from ‘Driven’ and ‘Committed’, events take a much more serious turn. Once again this could be read as a stand-alone, but by this point in the series you’d really be missing out if you haven’t read them all. And be warned, I have to make use of spoilers for the earlier books in this review to be able to talk about the progression of the stories.

While Tenika and Delilah jet off on their honeymoon, Lizzy is left in charge of Driven, the garage in Oakland that she and Tenika own. That would be pressure enough on its own, but Lizzy is also dealing with the shaky situation between herself and Kate, her girlfriend. It’s six months since Kate moved into her own place, and although she’s now planning to live with Lizzy, there’s still her undocumented immigrant status hanging over their heads. When ICE suddenly appear at the garage looking for Kate, she has no choice but to seek sanctuary in a local church…

Sally and Frankie are now dating, and it’s mostly going well except for the fact that Frankie refuses to take Sally’s job seriously. Sally reads Tarot and is psychic, and it’s the latter that Frankie just can’t get her head around. It’s causing friction, and things come to a head when Sally does a reading for a new client, Rosalind, who works for a mysterious tech firm. Sally receives visions of a possible terrorist attack in the city—and then tries to convince the non-believing Frankie it’s a real threat…

Rosalind thinks she’s found her dream job, working for a firm that designs software to root out fake news on social media. Only what Rosalind discovers is that the software doesn’t seem to be very good, and many fake news items that should be blocked are getting through the filters. Bad programming? Or something more sinister? It’s the last thing Rosalind needs to deal with when she’s already struggling with trying to deny her queer sexuality in the face of her devout Catholic parents…

As with part two in the series, this  part is a mix of extending the stories of the existing characters, and bringing in new characters to give additional flavor. It’s by far the most serious of the series, with the Kate immigration story obviously being extremely topical, and quite painful, emotionally, to read in places. The author relates the despair of people in such situations well, although I have to say I thought the introduction of the side character Monroe in this scenario was a bit of an unnecessary distraction.

The other stories are well-written, with good explorations of relationships, inner turmoil, and growth of characters both within themselves and in their connections with others. In some places there’s possibly a little too much introspection, but overall it’s another good read.