REVIEW: Cold Midnight by Joyce Lamb
Dear Ms. Lamb:
I wanted to read this book because a) I love sports books and b) so few of the sports books ever feature female athletes. The sports/athletic aspect of the book was the best part. The rest of it? Didn’t work so well.
<—What is going on with that chick’s breasts?
Kylie McKay was a tennis star at the cusp of breaking out. She had just won the Australian Open when, during a downtime at her home, she was attacked and her knee was bashed in by a baseball bat. Her career in tatters, Kylie runs off to UCLA to get her degree and heal. Ten years later, she returns home to open up a tennis/health club center. During construction, a baseball bat is found that Kylie believes is the one that damaged her knee. 10 years! In the dirt! and she can identify it! Maybe this is true but it strained my credulity. I mean, I would like to know what magic marker the assailant used that the words KILLER would have remained on the bat after being buried for ten years. I can’t keep the labels on my travel bottle from lasting more than one trip. Also, googling shows that a cotton rag degrades in 5 months, let alone surviving 10 years to yield blood and fiber clues. O_o
Chase Manning was her boyfriend at the time and is now a Kendall Falls Police Detective. He’s never gotten over the loss of Kylie despite having been married and divorced. He is portrayed as on the precipice of emotional instability upon finding the baseball bat and hearing of threats against Kyle and the McKay Tennis Center.
At first, I was intrigued. It seemed like you were playing with some established character tropes within the genre. Kylie was the stoic one, keeping her emotions in check at all times while Chase was the emotional one, driven by impulse and instinct. But as this wore on, Chase’s disgust for Kylie’s emotional discipline began to be offensive instead of endearing. Chase was great about blaming Kylie for the fallout of their relationship and for changing after the trauma into a stone cold hearted bitch.
Kylie gets her knee bashed in by a bat and it ends her tennis career, a promising pro career, something only a few could ever dream of and it’s over. Does he really believe that she won’t be totally traumatized by that? Further, Kylie explains that Chase didn’t wait long to move on because she heard that he got someone knocked up almost immediately after she left. Chase explains that he was distraught and sought “solace” (that’s what he calls it). It really wasn’t his fault that he couldn’t keep his dick in his pants while Kylie sought to recover from a super horrible event. I mean, if she had stuck around, he wouldn’t have been forced into some other girl’s bed.
I wanted to throttle him, he was so irritating. If you couldn’t tell.
Anyway, moving on to the suspense plot of the story. Bad things are happening to Kylie’s tennis center and to her personally. She doesn’t get a long great with her step siblings, one of whom might have been behind the attack, and she’s having to deal with uncomfortable feelings for Chase. There’s a complicating other man in Kylie’s life (a complication that is totally contrived and not a little skeevy). See the doctor that operated on Kylie’s life and saved her knee when she was seventeen totally had the hots for her back then and is taking up with her again when she returned. Her stepmother encourages this relationship, arguing he had waited for her for 10 years.
"I don’t know. He was very devoted to you before you left for California."
"I was his patient."
"A patient he liked very much."
Oy is all I have to say. I thought the characterizations were way off. The suspense was the most interesting part of the book, but there were plenty of holes in the villain’s motivation for the crime, kind of like how I figured the evidence would be, buried in the ground after 10 years. It’s not quite a D book, but it came close. C-