REVIEW: Big Trouble by Marianna Jameson
Dear Ms. Jameson’s Editor:
I am writing this letter to you, the editor, because I think you failed at your job. Isn’t it your job to tell the author that she needs to cut out unnecessary scenes, make sure the characters sound consistent, and keep the pacing timely? Because all of those things seemed to be missing. Big Trouble is a big book: 432 pages. It was about 100 pages too long. The book started out snappy. Naomi Connor works for security firm who specializes in making companies hackproof. She begs for the chance to be lead on the Brennan Shipping Industries job because she sees it as a chance for redemption. When Naomi was 12, she inadvertently hacked into BSI as a result of an elaborate setup by Russian bad guys. The Russian bad guys had set up a contest for hackers to hack into a “dummy” network. Only it wasn’t a dummy network, it was BSI’s network. Naomi realized right away what she had done and went straight to her parents but the damage had already been done. Naomi wants to make it right.
Joe Brennan is Assistant General Counsel for BSI and acting CTO. He still remembers that night when BSI was hacked and his family suffered a great deal as a result of it. He draws a hard line between right and wrong and puts hackers, no matter their age or justification, on the wrong side. Instant conflict. The good parts of the book feature the growing attraction between Joe and Naomi and their desire to NOT mix business with pleasure and the very realistic corporate espionage problem. The tech stuff was explained so an ordinary reader could understand.
The bad part was the rest of the book. Naomi’s thoughts go on and on about her guilt over her actions as a 12 year old. Joe knows Naomi is hiding something but while he wants to know, he is too distracted by his lust for her. These monologues became redundant. As the editor, you should have cut some of those scenes out. Joe is an enigma and not in a good way. In My Hero, Joe is a fun-loving, flirt of a guy who doesn’t always get his girl. Joe, in Big Trouble, is a terrifying boss that makes his underlings throw up (literally) from fear, who has a commanding personality, and who gets every girl he sets his eyes on. But Ms. Jameson also tried to make Joe into the little brother who was overwhelmed by his older brother’s charisma. Those character traits didn’t quite seem to jell with me. Other problems included Naomi’s embarassment over her large chest and the near constant focus on it and lack of charming dialogue that Ms. Jameson turned out in My Hero.
I can’t imagine too many readers are going to find this book too interesting because the poor pacing, the inconsistent characterizations and lack of good dialogue. I feel bad for Ms. Jameson because she surely showed talent in My Hero and so I think I blame you, anonymous Signet/NAL editor, for the failings in this book. It doesn’t look like Jameson has anything more in the hopper. Her website doesn’t show any new books. I would certainly give her another chance if something was published but I can’t recommend book to other readers like I could My Hero. C- for your author and D for you!