To say that Diamond is not a typical young woman is a massive understatement. At the tender age of seventeen she had not only graduated from high school but also from college . . . with several degrees. She was orphaned as a child when her drug addict parents were in an accident and then raised by her grandmother (who regrettably dies when she is seventeen). Although now in her early twenties, Diamond is just as lost now as she was as a child in Diamond in a Haystack by B. Rene Cole.
As previously mentioned, Diamond is not a typical young lady. She is a computer genius and hacker extra ordinaire as well as a thief. She rationalizes her thefts because she is in need or want. These rationalizations began early with her stealing a computer and lock-picking supplies while attending a boarding school because she was limited by the capabilities of her current computer. As a hacker, Diamond is known as Phantom and befriends another hacker, Blaze or Eric. Diamond and Eric become co-workers in a series of bank robberies and gem heists of, what else, diamonds.
A brief meet in a coffee shop provides a pseudo-romantic interest with Jeremy, an FBI agent. Diamond and Jeremy's relationship is limited to the weekends and/or times when she is not out-and-about robbing banks or stealing diamonds. She feels that he is a bit obtuse and doesn't really understand her full capabilities, until he arrests her for all of her thefts.
Diamond's arrest isn't as traumatic to her as her loss of time and memory due to blackouts. She has these vivid dreams featuring an all white swan (even the feet and beak are white). The swan seems to be a manifestation of another personality and gradually makes its foray into her waking life. She imagines seeing the swan out of the corner of her eye, seeing feathers float in the air and then she begins to hear voices of her other personality.
I could accept the split-personality issues, the vivid and strange dreams that seemed prophetic, and the apparent boredom with the nine-to-five desk jobs. I could also handle the idea of having a snake as a pet; a snake named Kevin. The relationship between Eric and Diamond was quirky and bordered on co-dependency but even that was relatively realistic. Diamond is supposedly antisocial and doesn't like groups, but heads out with Jeremy to go clubbing with great ease. I also had difficulties with the notion that Diamond is a genius when dealing with computers, but she is also adept at martial arts, a skilled gymnast, can pick locks with ease, yet she remained completely oblivious to an obviously ongoing investigation into the robberies and thefts with her as the key suspect and her "boyfriend" is the primary investigator. Of course this may have been the intention of the author to leave the reader just as clueless as the main character and if so, it worked. I had too many problems trying to accept and then rationalize Diamond's behavior to be able to fully enjoy the story. Diamond in a Haystack is a story that just didn't work for me.
Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."