Dear Julieanne Reeves:
I saw this on a list I follow as a recommended read but at $6.99 I was very reluctant to try it. Apparently Pamela Clare blurbed this but I can’t help but wonder if they are chapter mates or friends because the writing isn’t remotely as good as Clare’s book. I know I shouldn’t rely on author blurbs. I always kick myself when I do because invariably they never work out.
This is self published and it shows in the writing. While the book’s grammar and formatting is professional and well done, the pacing is disjointed and the character arcs lack believability. Of course, that complaint can probably be leveled at edited books as well.
The book opens with a short prologue which shows Kayne walking in on his wife. Two of his children are lying on the floor, dead of apparent drowning. His third child, an infant daughter, is missing. His wife then turns a gun on herself and commits suicide. Chapter one starts immediately after and Kayne is now a state trooper, currently policing traffic in a remote mountain community in the Northern Arizona. He stops a speeder, starts flirting with her and then goes home to masturbate. I’m still not over the dead children and Kayne is whacking off to some random traffic stop? Please, give me a minute here.
The tone and emotions of the characters swing wildly from serious (from the masturbation scene we go to Kayne having breakfast with another trooper where Kayne goes off on the trooper about Kayne’s past) to sexy flirtation without notice, leaving the reader to suffer wild swings of emotion.
The characters also act in ways that are difficult to understand. The heroine was married to a fire medic. She listens to a police scanner all the time. She hears an accident happen and brings Kayne dinner and then acts shell shocked when she realizes it is the place where her husband had died, saving one of her adopted children. It’s not believable she wouldn’t know exactly where the accident occurred since she listens to the scanner regularly and THAT IS HOW SHE CAME TO KNOW OF THE ACCIDENT. Ugh.
Both Kayne and Jessica take turns demonizing their now deceased spouses. Kayne couldn’t decide whether his dead wife was a “murdering bitch” or a “lonely wife”. In another scene, Kayne is feeling awkward because in the course of an investigation, he had to admit that he had slept with his now dead wife while they were married. He was uncomfortable because he was worried that Jess would be jealous. Jealous that Kayne had sex with his wife? Do these two have the emotional maturity of preteens?
Jess was always having the stray thought, from the very start, how Kayne was such a better man that her deceased husband. That’s a lot of bitterness for her to carry as well (even though it isn’t portrayed as bitterness, but why the need for the constant comparisons?)
There is a really convoluted and SUPER unbelievable mystery that involves Kayne’s ex wife, the accident, Jess, and her adopted children. One of the “mysteries” is so obvious that I felt the meager attempts at obfuscation were laughable. This is no spoiler because it is introduced in the first and second chapters. Jess has an adopted girl that is the same age as Kayne’s missing infant, the one that they never found. And ALL her mannerisms (mannerisms that read the same as about a million other kids) remind him of his dead daughter. Gracie, the little one, even takes to calling him dad early on. It’s pretty ridiculous.
Kayne’s main character trait is saying stupid hurtful things that Jess overhears and which hurt her feelings. Jess’ main character trait is being sweet and standing around like a dumbass. I struggled to finish the book because I didn’t like Kayne and thought Jess had only marginal more life in her than a sea sponge. D