I don’t usually write negative reviews. My philosophy is life is too short, there are too many books, I’m not a professional reviewer, blablabla.
For this book, however, I am willing to make an exception.
First, some background. I recently attended a webinar at which Severn House was a featured publisher, and this was one of their upcoming titles that they mentioned. Obviously, in a presentation like that, a publisher is going to be positive about their books. They aren’t going to talk about the books that they feel are going to under-perform that season, or mention the titles that they hope will fail miserably in all markets. It’s a kind of marketing, but it’s also a chance for them to highlight midlist titles and authors that aren’t getting The Big Marketing Push but that would probably do well in libraries. So if there’s a title or an author in a webinar that sounds interesting but that I’m not familiar with, my next step is to find professional reviews of it so that I can get a more unbiased idea about the book, and maybe also see whether it might be worth my time to read it.
And this is where things started to go poorly. Booklist gives it a starred review, as does Publishers Weekly. Kirkus doesn’t, but they’re notoriously picky, so whatever, that’s not an automatic strike against a book.
Compelling, suspenseful, gruesome, and frightening, this page-turner is only slightly disappointing in that it will be obvious to mystery buffs whodunit; only Chantal seems oblivious until it’s almost too late.
The hideous and long-buried truth will catch most readers by surprise.
Moody (Loose Ends, 2013, etc.) knows how to build suspense, but it’s hard not to keep yelling “don’t go there” at the drippy heroine in this overwrought thriller.
OBVIOUS??? So obvious that when THE OBVIOUS MURDERER OF OBVIOUSNESS showed the first sign of OBVIOUSLY BEING THE MURDERER I said to myself, “oh, that can’t possibly be who the murderer is, IT’S TOO OBVIOUS, it must be a red herring.” Nope, no herrings, red or otherwise. Catch readers BY SURPRISE??? Only if they’ve never ever read a mystery before and are incapable of picking up clues THE SIZE OF BOULDERS dropped with all the subtlety of anvils in a Warner Bros. cartoon. I MEAN COME ON. Overwrought, though, that one is spot-on.
So to sum up, Susan Moody is not a good Mary Stewart replacement, and I am prone to CAPS LOCK OF RAGE when professional review journals fail me, and the book itself is not worth your time.
Source: ebook borrowed from library