New western hero

Lois Ann Abraham, November 17

Sacramento author Lois Ann Abraham’s debut novel Tina Goes to Heaven (Ad Lumen Press, $16.95) makes for a good post-election escapist read. It’s also a sharp, thoughtful take on self-sufficiency, survival and emotional grit.

Here, protagonist Tina Martin takes on a life of crime—robbery, to be exact—as as a way to break free from her life as a prostitute. This act of rebellion lands her at a fishing camp in the Sierra Nevada, forcing her to rely upon instinct.

The premise might sound a bit like the plot of an Old West film—and Tina is a modern, Western hero of sorts—but there’s nothing old-timey or contrived about her story.

Abraham, who teaches English at American River College, is also the author of the 2014 short story collection Circus Girl and Other Stories, and once again her writing is fast-paced, funny and straightforward. Tina does not make for an easy character—she’s complicated, raw and sometimes tough to figure out.

Abraham will read from Tina Goes to Heaven this Thursday at Time Tested Books. (Future readings are also on the calendar: 2 p.m. Saturday, December 3, at the Arden Dimick branch of the Sacramento Public Library, and 6 p.m. Tuesday, December 13, at its Carmichael branch.) Free; 7 p.m. Thursday, November 17 at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st Street;