DNF Mini review: Lay it Down by Cara McKenna

FTC: Received for free at RT
I call this "The Book The Red Dirt Killed." It was fine. The characters were fine. The plot was okay. The setting was decent. But over and over again, McKenna described the soil out in BFE Nevada as "red." IT'S NOT RED.  It's an unrelenting grayish, alkaline brown. So over and over again, I had to shake that incredibly wrong mental image out of my head. Nevada isn't the reddish desert of the Southwest—at least not outside Las Vegas—and having that one detail that seemed so important to the hero be so wrong? It ruined a promising book. I put this down after reading halfway through and have zero desire to pick it up again. Bummer. In this case, I think choosing a specific, real location might have worked better. Maybe there is a spot in the middle of Nevada that's red, but I've driven across northern Nevada to Utah and from Reno to LA. I lived in Nevada for 7 years. It's brown.


  1. It's amazing what can yank you right out of a story. I once read a book where the heroine was daydreaming while dining at an outdoor cafe in Los Angeles, in September, and enjoying the "crisp" weather.

    In LA? In September?!??!?!?! The only time it's "crisp" in LA in September is when we're "burning to a crisp." It's typically 500 bajillion degrees outside and, you know, wild fire season. Which is pretty much all year around now but I get extra twitchy around August/September.

    1. Hahahaha. It's never really "crisp" in LA. That's kind of the point of LA. We went to Disneyland in February of last year, and I was sweating. And yes, wildfire season. It's year-round and miserable. This seemed like a pretty basic thing to get right. How hard is it to look at Google Image Search? I mean, yes, it's a little orangish around Vegas, but that's not where the book was set. More proof that contemporaries are just as guilty of not getting the research right as historicals.