Although I won’t mention names, anyone who has read this “book” will be able to figure out the author. He’s a household name, as famous as I am unknown, so famous that he doesn’t actually write his own books anymore. From what I hear, he meets with a co-author and they develop a story, and then the co-writer does the work. This “book” had a co-author, although I don’t know which is primarily responsible for this monstrosity.
Why did I start it? Well, I read one of famous author’s first novels many, many years ago and it was decent. It didn't make me a fan but I recognized the name later when he became a literary God. I actually picked up a couple of his later books but began to hear from friends who I respected that his later work sucked. This dropped his books down my reading list. Until last night. The lovely Lana brought one of his 2007 releases home, with a sexy cover, and I thought, “his stuff can’t be as bad as my friends are saying. It sells, a lot, and maybe I can learn something from it.”
My friends had understated the suckage. I’ve heard Dan Brown described as a less than stellar writer, but compared with this “book” I’m going to have to start calling Brown Mr. HemingwaySteinbeck. Did I say it was bad? Oh man is it bad.
So why have I kept reading? Because I can’t wait to see what train wreck moment of horribly bad plotting and godawful foreshadowing will be next. I literally can’t believe a professionally published work would be so lame. And let me give you my reasons for saying so. It’ll probably lead some to recognize the work.
First, it starts out like a diary written by a 15 year old girl. A woman puts on her best little black dress and heads downtown to surprise hubby. She finds said hubby arm in arm with a ravishing blond and follows them in her car, like they were “connected by a tow hook,” to a hotel. The woman does not confront her husband, but instead of going out of town the next day as she is supposed to, she stays home and meets hunky, motorcycle rider. These two have apparently carried on a mild flirtation, but no affair.
We pause a moment to mention that hubby is an investment type. We know that both he and the woman have been to law school, where they met, but we don’t know anything about her job. From her interest in clothes and her sweet little “Mini-Cooper” she seems a spoiled housewife with no children to worry about. Anyway, motorcycle guy comes over. She has second thoughts, but then gets on the back of his bike and they race off through the rain to the upscale mansion where the guy is house sitting. They make sweet love, and then the man leaves to get “fresh basil and olive oil” to cook for her.
Meanwhile, hubby has been following the two and knows everything. He gets out of his Toyota Camry with a golf club. (The Camry struck me as odd considering he’s apparently a well off investment fellow who can afford to live in Manhattan and play golf.) As boyfriend comes out of the house, hubby moves to attack, but boyfriend gets the jump and takes away the club.
The scene shifts inside where the woman is at a window watching hubby and boyfriend fight. Hubby wins and throws big hunky guy into the back seat of his car, although the woman can hear the hunk groan and knows he is alive. Ok, now is where it gets really good, or bad. The woman decides her hubby has taken hunk to a hospital (excuse me?) and she drives to the nearest one. For the first time, and this is page 45, we see she has a gun in her purse (say what?). But at the hospital she finds no hubby or boyfriend. She wonders where hubby can have gone and heads to another hospital where she busts into a room holding a crime suspect and a uniformed officer. When the officer looks at her suspiciously, she makes up some lame lie and flees. However, she overhears the policeman’s radio crackle something about a white male victim and an address.
So, she goes to this address and sees numerous NYPD police cars. She thinks about how she better get out of here or she’ll get in trouble, but as she pulls up to the cop directing traffic she suddenly stops and gets out of the car. Then she takes her “badge” out of her purse. Yes, you heard right. On page 51 we find out she is a cop, and on page 52 that she’s been a NYC police officer for seven years, the last year and a half as a detective in homicide. We also learn that the trip she blew off to meet hunk boy was to Quantico for a seminar with the FBI. A few pages later we learn she is also a lawyer as well as a cop. (Rightttt.)
The female police officer/lawyer goes to the tarp where a body lies, looks under, and sees one dead hunk, although she doesn’t notice he’s been shot until another officer (her partner) points it out. We also find out here that boyfriend is a cop too. After that the woman cries hysterically, despite the fact that on the next page we learn she is considered by her chief to be one of his top detectives. And even though she has blown off a trip to FBI headquarters without permission or explanation, the chief immediately assigns her to the case. And this is as far as I’ve gotten.
I can’t even describe all the things wrong with this story. We don’t have the space in the blogosphere. But how can we go fifty pages into a book following a flustered, silly, clothes horse, housewife and suddenly find out that she’s a cop? A homicide detective no less? Suddenly, we are also expected to believe that an investment banker hubby could beat a younger, bigger, stronger man who is a police officer and armed with a golf club in hand to hand combat. (Although I’m quite sure that in this lamely plotted piece of crap we’ll find that hubby is really a spy or assassin or some equally ridiculous thing.)
And the possibility of believing that this woman is a homicide detective is less than believing that the pyramids were erected by penis creatures from Tau Ceti, or that the Taleran series will outsell Dean Koontz’s entire backlist next year. We know she can’t tail a suspect worth a damn. But hubby can tail her without her having a clue. She can’t recognize a bullet wound until it’s pointed out to her. She works in homicide but her first, second, and third thoughts are that hubby is taking beaten up hunk to a hospital. And she’s crying hysterically at a murder scene.
Worst of all, because it’s cheating, we are deliberately mislead repeatedly by the author. The woman’s reaction to uniformed police officers make us think that she’s simply a housewife when in reality all she ever had to do from the start is show her badge. The author played false with the reader. We’re inside the woman’s head for page after page and the author didn’t respect the reader enough to give us a genuine character with genuine thoughts.