Sometimes, readers like a boost to start putting their feelings into words.

Here are some questions to spark discussion about the Lola Starke novels and the world of Crescent City.

Crescent City:

Does the setting seem believable to you as an alternate history? Why? Why not?

What elements of Crescent City would you like to know more about? Why? How would it add to the story?

How did elements of the setting punctuate the story for you? Did any detract?

Were there elements about the cultural narrative which intrigued you? Why? How?

The Character of Lola Starke:

How does the character of Lola represent the classic trope of the femme fatale?

How does Lola represent the classic trope of the hard-boiled PI?

Does the intersection of these two tropes within Lola make her: more/less intriguing? more/less gendered? more/less understandable?

Why do you think Lola inspires continued loyalty and love from those closest to her (i.e., Ria, the Aunties, Grace, Betta) despite her often churlish behaviour toward them?

How do you think Lola's cultural upbringing impacts her choices?

What or whom do you think are the biggest influences on Lola?

Do you think Aubrey is a positive or negative influence on Lola? Why?

What do you think drives Aubrey's devotion to Lola? Is it devotion? Is it better described as duty? What's at the core of their relationship?

What do you think drives Lola to be a PI, given her wealth and status? Do you think this serves her well? Why? Why not?


How does the role of family play into the novels? Is it a minor theme? Is it a major motivation?

If hard-boiled is a catch-all of thematic elements and noir is a genre, how do they appear in the novels?

What are the major themes of each novel? Does one theme from one novel appear in the other novels?

Is there an overarching thread to be found throughout the novels (and short stories)? What is it? How does it inform the narrative arcs and/or themes?

Whom would you cast in the film/TV series/play in the roles of Lola, Aubrey, Grace, the Aunties, Ria, etc.?

Would these novels make for better television, live theatre, or old-fashioned radio play? Why?