CONCIERGE Book Club Questions
- Do you believe that Concierge could have been set in any city, at any time, or are there unique aspects of the New Orleans French Quarter and the Mardi Gras season that were essential to the story?
- A) Have you been on Royal Street, Esplanade Avenue, and Frenchmen Street, where action takes place in Concierge? What did you do there? Do you have a favorite street in New Orleans? If so, which one and why?
B) What is your favorite street in your favorite city/town? Can you describe the street’s personality? What do you like to do when you visit that street?
- Andi suffered a great trauma in the earlier novel, Deceived, which affects her in Concierge. If you went through similar trauma, how do you think it might affect you? Is there someone in your life who could help you get through such an experience? Would you be able to share the details of what you’d gone through, or would you keep it to yourself, like Andi?
- How did you feel when Gabe read Andi’s journals? Did you feel it was appropriate for him to invade her privacy, even if he was able to help her based on the information he discovered? Can you envision circumstances where you would read someone’s private journals?
- Andi has a few places near her home where she feels safe. Describe an area near your home that you like going to when you need to get away. How frequently do you go there?
- Were you able to visualize Andi’s paintings and sketches based upon the author’s descriptions? Who are some of your favorite painters? What do you like about their works?
- What did you think of Andi’s concern for and desire to sketch people she encountered on the streets? Does your city have a large population of people who are homeless? Is there anything you could do to help them?
- What did you think of Pic? Did he have adequate motivation for running away from home? Do you believe his hesitation over moving into Andi’s guesthouse was realistic? What did you think of Pic’s initial reaction to Gabe?
- Why do you think the author used the first person point of view for the villain’s scenes?
- What developments in the story surprised you?
- Do you believe that human traffickers could operate where you live? Why, or why not? In your opinion, what circumstances could make a person vulnerable to human traffickers? If you were kidnapped, or taken, how long do you believe it would be before someone noticed you were missing and alerted the authorities?
- What was your favorite scene? What did you like about it – setting, characterization, emotion, action, or something else?
JIGSAW Book Club Questions
- Jigsaw’s lead characters, Samantha Dixon Fairfax and Jesus (“Zeus”) Hernandez have personal history that predates the opening of the story. In light of their history, what do you think of Samantha’s resistance to Zeus’s attempts to rekindle their relationship?
- Zeus believes Samantha is “the one” for him. Have you ever felt like this about anyone? How long into the relationship did it take you to know it? Do you believe in love at first sight?
- In your opinion, how were Zeus and Samantha alike, and how were they different?
- Do you have an Achilles’ heel? Can you identify the Achilles’ heel of both Zeus and Samantha?
- How did you feel about the level of sensuality in Jigsaw?
- What did you think about the fictional court of the International Terrorism Tribunal? Do you believe countries should unify their efforts in combating terrorist groups? How?
- Were the motives of the fictional terrorist groups identified in Jigsaw plausible?
- Who was your favorite character, and why? Your least favorite, and why?
- Settings in Jigsaw include Paris, France; London, England; Miami, Florida; and the Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico. Have you visited any of these places? Were the settings in the story consistent with your impression of these places?
- What is your favorite French food?
- Have you read Deceived and Shadows, Stella Barcelona’s prior novels? How would you compare this novel with Deceived and Shadows? What did you think of Gabe, Zeus’s brother, who will be featured in the next Black Raven novel, Concierge? Did Gabe appear in Jigsaw enough for you to make observations about his personality?
- Can you imagine a scenario where you would hire Black Raven Private Security Contractors? Can you identify with the Black Raven saying, “embrace the suck?” What does this saying mean to you?
SHADOWS Book Club Questions
- Which relationship in Shadows was your favorite, and why – the relationship between Skye Barrows and her younger sister, Spring; the romance that developed between Skye and Sebastian Connelly; or the relationship that developed between Spring and Sebastian?
- What do you believe motivated Sebastian? Did his actions stay true to his motivation throughout the story? Who should play him in the movie version?
- What do you believe motivated Skye? Did her actions stay true to her motivation throughout the story? Who should play her in the movie version?
- What did you think of Ragno? Do you have ideas regarding her background?
- In Shadows, Skye and Spring owned Creative Confections, a coffee shop and bakery. Do you regularly frequent a coffee shop or bakery? Is it anything like Creative Confections?
- Sebastian ultimately admired Skye and her determination to take care of her younger sister, but in the beginning he used Skye’s relationship with Spring to his advantage. How did you feel about Sebastian in the beginning of the story? Were his actions justified? Was there a time in the story when you did not like him? If so, what action(s), if anything, redeemed him?
- What surprised you about Shadows?
- Richard Barrows claims to have developed Shadow Technology, which has the capability of assimilating all cyber data collected by the U.S. Government and turning that data into relevant information about any U.S. citizen’s daily habits. Do you believe such technology exists in real life? Do you believe the U.S. Government has such technology?
- When Ragno and Sebastian discuss the U.S. Government’s data collection capabilities (Chapter Seven), Sebastian states: “We know the government collects everything, all the time.” Do you believe this statement is true? Do you believe the U.S. Government is capable of collecting your data (emails, cell phone records, etc.) without your knowledge?
- Governmental collection of cyber data, as discussed in Shadows, raises issues under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Do you believe that the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant before collecting and analyzing your cyber information, such as online data, phone records, emails, and cloud account data? Should the Government have the right to collect such data without a warrant?
- Would you want to meet any of the characters in Shadows? In what setting?
- What did you think of the jellybean moments in Shadows? What is your favorite brand of jellybeans? Flavor? Have you had popcorn flavored jellybeans?
DECEIVED Book Club Questions
- Was the author’s portrayal of New Orleans in Deceived consistent with your vision of the city? Were any of the settings in New Orleans familiar to you?
- Are there places in the novel that you would like to visit?
- Deceived blends romance and suspense, with a fictional historical mystery that is solved in the present day. Did one aspect of the story appeal to you more than the others?
- The story is told from the point of view of three main characters: Brandon Morrissey, Taylor Bartholomew, and the villain. How did the varying points of view affect how the story was told? Do you like when authors use more than one point of view to tell a story?
- Why do you think the author included Carolyn in the story?
- Brandon was initially annoyed by Taylor’s incessant questions, but it was a quality he grew to love about her. Have you ever disliked something about someone that you grew to love?
- Why do you think the author chose Deceived as the title? Can you name the characters who were deceived?
- A) What do you think about Brandon telling Taylor:
“You don’t look brilliant. You’re too damn gorgeous and put together, in a stylish way. You look like you care more about the latest fashion than anything serious.”
Have you ever been told, or have you told, someone something similar?
B) Brandon follows the comment in 8(A) with:
“Don’t get mad. Use it to your advantage. Look so good that you dazzle them, then kick them in the balls when they’re not looking. I don’t know how many juries you’ve been before, but I’d bet money that your track record is going to be a winning one.”
What do you think about this comment? Do you believe it is a realistic assessment that a seasoned lawyer such as Brandon would make to another lawyer?
- Have you ever visited a museum that focuses on World War II history? Where was the museum? Did you enjoy it? Have you been to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans? What did you think of it?
- If you could rewrite the ending of Deceived, what would you change?
- In a movie version, who should play Taylor and Brandon? The villain?
- What three words would you use to describe Deceived?