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REVIEW: Unrequited by Abigail Roux

REVIEW: Unrequited by Abigail Roux

Dear Ms. Roux.

UnrequitedI opened this file when I got it because it wasn’t paranormal (no world building…I’m so sick of world building) and because you wrote it and I adore your Caught Running with Madeleine Urban. That said…meh. So many holes, such annoying characters, unbelievable timeline, so much potential angst wasted, wasted I tell you!

Vic the lawyer loves Owen the sheriff and part-time bailiff. Owen uses Vic as a fuck buddy and has done so for five years, which is tearing Vic apart. Or at least, so I’m told. Shane the judge is Vic’s best friend and convinces Vic, on 12 hours’ notice, to go on a month’s vacation. Apparently, public prosecutors in North Carolina don’t have to clear their schedule to go on a MONTH’S LONG vacation. I think I need to go to law school. As we learn…eventually…Shane loves Vic and has done so for…yes, you guessed it, five years. But as the entire story is told from Vic’s not-quite-first-person perspective, Shane’s emotions pretty much get lost and ignored in Vic’s angst and general cluelessness. Which is a shame. Vic, of course, comes to realize the relationship potential in his best friend and finally gets a clue.

The first scene is set up brilliantly…and then goes nowhere:

Victor Bronsen tapped his pen against his temple slowly.

Tap.

The defense lawyer was speaking in a low, monotonous drone. He was new to this district, brought in from somewhere else by the family of the accused man, and he obviously didn’t know how short Judge Trammell’s temper was when it came to stalling or pontificating.

Tap.

Vic glanced up at the bailiff, Owen Montgomery, who stood stock-still with his blue eyes narrowed, looking at the defense lawyer like he might like to hit him soon. Owen was a big guy, with thick blond hair, a full beard, and wide shoulders that made him look a little like a lion. He wasn’t the type of guy you wanted to piss off.

Tap.

Et cetera. Brilliantly set up. I read this and I was so psyched for the rest of the book, because it seemed so evocative of character and setting and I thought I was in for a treat of a book. But then…nothing. The judge is not Shane, which would have made for more tension, more literary impact. The judge in the scene does not eat the defender. Nothing happens. It’s like showing the gun over the mantle-piece and then completely ignoring it for the rest of the play. Aargh!

Even more infuriatingly, Shane’s judging a case that requires police protection for…like eight hours? WTF? Don’t mention a dangerous case and police protection if you don’t do anything with it. It’s not real life, it’s fiction, and things need to have meaning, rather than being random, especially in a 100 page story.

And then the drinking. This is why I do not like Nora Roberts’ early categories: everyone’s drinking and smoking. Yuck. While I understand that two to three men at the beach for a month might drink pretty much all the time, I personally find that an incredibly unattractive trait, which transfers to unattractive, unsympathetic characters, to my mind.

I kept waiting for both Shane and Vic to grow some. Both of them sat around for FIVE YEARS and didn’t talk with the object of their unrequited love? Shane’s excuse was that he knew that Vic loved Owen. Vic’s excuse was that he’s a pansy-assed coward and just…yuck. And after five years of angst (so we’re told), he switches to Shane in a month? And I’m supposed to believe in the HEA? Not so much.

Also, the tourist trip through North Carolina? Unnecessary because you don’t actually DO anything with it. It doesn’t reveal character; it doesn’t further the plot or heighten the tension — mainly because there was very little plot and even less tension. It’s just a travelogue. “Look, kids, Big Ben!” No no, that’s something else…

The book was mildly amusing. But I only finished it because I was waiting for Vic and/or Shane to grow some and they didn’t. The ending was vaguely interesting and gave me two seconds of warm fuzzies. But generally a pretty forgettable book. So forgettable, in fact, that I’m proud of myself for remembering to write the review. But then, I’m doing my best to avoid grading.

Grade: C-

Best regards,
-Joan/Sarah F.

This book can be purchased in ebook format from Amazon and other retailers.

Dear Author

REVIEW: One Deadly Sin by Annie Solomon

Dear Ms. Solomon:

book review I have to share with you a problem. Every book that I’ve read of yours, I have liked, One Deadly Sin being no exception to that rule. For some reason, though, I never have the “must read” urge strike me when I come across a title of yours. In this case, I received two copies of this book in advanced form and one in finished form but never cracked the spine of any one of those copies. I went ahead and bought the ecopy because I knew I wanted to read you yet it languished on my reader.

I need to reinforce in my head what a good writer you because every time I’ve read a book of yours, I always close it with the thought, “this chick can write.” I haven’t quite figured out the “why” of my hesitation but I’m telling myself right now that the next time your book comes in I should read it. This is my personal string on the finger reminder.

One Deadly Sin is about Edie Swann whose father committed suicide because he was accused of embezzling funds from the town factory. Her mother never recovered and Edie’s childhood was destroyed. She’s drifted fairly aimlessly until she wrests the names of individuals who visited her father the week before his death. She decides to return to her small town, twenty years after her father’s death, and shake things up.

Her plan is to leave little black angels in the possession these individuals. Her goal? Less clear. The little black angels signify the gargoyle that her mother had placed over Edie’s father’s grave. Until his name was cleared, the gargolye would remain. Edie didn’t know what the truth was but wanted to find out.

The problem is that the individuals who start receiving Edie’s gifts also start to die, one by one. Holt Drennan, the local sheriff, falls for Edie almost right away. Their flirting is totally hot but then Holt is faced with evidence that suggests Edie might be the cause of local individuals’ deaths.

This book had so many elements of past romantic suspense books that it was in danger of being cliched but where I thought the story would go right, you went left. The small town was shown with great delicacy, portraying the danger of the mob mentality but the big heart of a few people that could change public opinion. When Edie’s secret comes out, Holt feels justifiably betrayed by her silence but soon comes to realize that he loves and she loves him and that he will fight for her.

Edie is a rabble rouser, but not one with edges so sharp that she purposely hurts herself along with others. She shows compassion and horror at what she’s starting; guilt at not divulging the truth to Holt; and also a natural instinct to run away when the pressure becomes too much.

The romance is deftly woven throughout the story although most of the conflict is external. I really appreciated that Holt didn’t view Edie as a “bad girl” but just someone to whom he was greatly attracted. Edie’s attraction to Holt was also uninhibited by an “I hate everything in uniform” position.  ¬†Neither character seemed stock to me, particularly because we were able to see many facets of the characters from being a friend, to a father, to a daughter, to a son, to a lover.  ¬†

The “whodunit” portion of the book lost a bit of steam at the end. I felt that at least one character would have divulged the secrets toward the end but was never pressed because that would have ruined the penultimate action scene. I also felt like there were motivations that were a bit contrived in order to create more suspense and then surprise at the ending.

For those who like a well balanced romantic suspense, this book certainly fulfills both aspects. I look forward to reading the next Annie Solomon as soon as it drops on my doorstep.

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased in mass market from an independent bookstore or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.