Book Review #142

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Hardcover, 400 pages

Published July 13th 2010 by Penguin Viking Adult (first published 2010)

Original Title: Faithful Place

ISBN: 0670021873 (ISBN13: 9780670021871)

Edition Language: English

Series: Dublin Murder Squad #3

Characters: Frank Mackey, Jackie Mackey, Shay Mackey, Holly Mackey, Carmel Mackey, , Kevin Mackey, , Scorcher Kennedy, , Imelda Tierney, , Stephen Moran.

Setting: Dublin Region (Ireland)

Literary Awards: Macavity Award Nominee for Best Mystery Novel (2011), Anthony Award Nominee for Best Novel (2011), Edgar Award Nominee for Best Novel (2011), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee (2010)

 An unexpected pleasure. While French is ostensibly writing murder mysteries, she is also writing thoughtful psychological profiles of a detective heavily involved in the case. In Faithful Place we dive into Undercover Detective Frank’s history, following him as he is drawn back into drama from a home he left decades ago. A suitcase discovered in an abandoned house opens up a host of memories and leads to the discovery of a dead woman. He finds very little of his dysfunctional family has changed, and resolves to leave them behind once more as soon as the case is in competent hands.

While the mystery pulls the reader in and subtly drives the plot, the focus is equally on character, relationships and setting. French is brilliant at capturing the mood of a place and time, wrapping it up in a small snow globe–and then shaking it up on the unfortunate lead character. It becomes evident that Frank is replicating many of his father’s dysfunctional behaviors in his family interactions. Interestingly for me, I’ve been able to identify the murderer in both the books I’ve read. I’ve come to suspect this is deliberate on the part of French, giving the reader further insight into the lead’s particular emotional short-sightedness, and building suspense around that fault line. It’s an unusual and delicate narrative choice, but I think French handles it well without much loss of tension.

I wondered somewhat at some of the descriptive choices, especially musical, that clearly anchor the story to a specific place and time. The family discussing a potential national economic disaster stands out as well. Somehow it felt jarring more than evocative, but those instances were rare. My most serious quibble comes from the narrative voice; I found myself not entirely believing in Frank’s narrative from the perspective of a middle-aged, rough-edged undercover cop. Mostly, I found myself wondering at dichotomy between the sensitivity and nostalgia of his memories, the fact that he seemed emotionally stuck at eighteen after a tragic first love, and his isolated, ruthless existence as a undercover detective. Scenes with his informant in the investigating squad came closest to the manipulation and ruthlessness I expected after reading The Likeness.

Overall, however, the writing and character development shines, and I will undoubtedly read French’s next book.

Book Review #141

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Paperback

Published November 7th 2016

Series: Love Addicts Anonymous

About the book: Release Date November 7, 2016

Kade Wright is an expert in rocking any woman’s world.

Sexy, rich, and the type you don’t bring home to meet your mother, he has broken more hearts than he can remember, and there is no end in sight. Until one mistake lands him in boiling hot waters. When his company orders him to the LOVE ADDICTS ANONYMOUS Rehab Center, he better get his affairs in order or else he loses his seat on the company board.

Love isn’t supposed to be addictive. But for Vicky Sullivan it is.

A true romantic at heart, she comes with a bit of a stalking tendency, and is completely not adverse to commitment. But who’s Kade to judge? As someone who’s seeking commitment and afraid of never finding love, she’s the type of woman he wouldn’t usually hit on. Except, she’s hot and keeps avoiding him…yes, even after seeing his private parts naked in all their glory.

Kade isn’t known as the tall, dark and ruthless businessman for no reason. Romance isn’t in the air, more like wild between the sheets action with no expectations. Vicky’s convinced she can resist, but Kade has other plans for her.

Can Vicky stay away from the one man who seems so easy to get and so hard to keep?

REVIEW:

LOVE ADDICTS ANONYMOUS Part 1 by JC Reed and Jackie Steele is a serialized novella series focusing on a six week stint at a rehab center for ‘love addict’ Vicky Sullivan, and ‘sex addict’ Kade Wright.

Told from dual first person points of view (Vicky and Kade) LOVE ADDICTS ANONYMOUS part one focuses on the introduction of our leading couple, and the center’s questionable and controversial mode of therapy pairing sex addicts with love addicts in adjoining suites. What ensues is the back and forth banter between Vicky and Kade, and the possibility that this form of therapy may not be what the doctor has ordered.

Throughout the story line we get up close and personal in the mind of our leading couple-their reasoning, excuses, and thoughts of denial in their attempts to justify their previous actions. Vicky is a woman obsessed with her ex-boyfriend; and Kade is a man determined to complete a year long challenge of a different woman every day. The maturity of both characters is in question; their lack of personal culpability is frightening. There are no $ex scenes or romantic interludes –only reflections of past indiscretions.

LOVE ADDICTS ANONYMOUS part one is a revealing and lively look at two people whose ‘addictions’ pull one another together for a potential explosive union.