Top critical review
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No Suspense, No Romance, No Reason to Read
on 9 March 2010
I found the beginning of the book quite hard to get into. Krentz kept going from one person to another and although it wasn't difficult to follow it didn't really engage me. I felt like I wasn't really given an opportunity to really get to grips with anything before she moved onto the next scene. The only thing at this point that did make me want to keep reading was the main character. Cady has suffered from panic attacks for years and this is quite a big part of her character. I have also suffered from panic attacks for most of my life and having something in common with the main character, especially something that's so significant in my life, made me really want to keep reading. Obviously this won't be relevant to the majority of people! I thought that Krentz wrote the anxiety really well. She either did her research very well or has personal experience. For me it wasn't the big descriptions of anxiety that were good, although they were very accurate, it was the more subtle things, the way that Krentz captured the way that anxiety impacts on every aspect of life. The thought patterns, the reactions, the triggers, they were all so realistic, at least in my experience. I think that this is something that could easily be missed if you don't have an anxiety disorder but for me it just really made me feel like I could relate to the character. At times this wasn't necessarily a good thing because there were points in this book where I had to put it down because I thought I was going to have a panic attack. I think that's actually a compliment to Krentz who wrote anxiety so well that she made me feel it.
I felt both the plot and the romance side of this book were weak. Ideally the two should compliment each other and I felt that in this book they didn't. Krentz seems to have minimised the romance as much as possible to concentrate on the murder plot which is not particularly well done. The suspense side of the novel lacks originality. It's very predictable which takes a lot of the suspense out of the book. I like to be able to guess who the murderer was but in this book it was so obvious that it felt like an insult to my intelligence. She tries to throw in a twist in the plot but I could see it coming almost immediately. This book is not written in a way that builds suspense. Although there is murder and plotting and everything you would expect in a crime novel there is no excitement. It lacks that moment where your heart's in your mouth and you're holding your breath waiting to see what's going to happen next. I think perhaps it's because it's a romance novel so you know who is going to survive. That takes a lot of the excitement out of it.
As I have said I feel like the romance was sacrificed for the suspense side of the novel. There are some romantic scenes but certainly not enough for a romance novel, in my opinion. The romance scenes that are in this book often felt very incomplete to me, like Krentz only explores the relationship and the emotions to a point and then stops. It just left me feeling like I wanted them to have their happy ending because I liked both of the characters but I didn't particularly want to read about it. There are a number of secondary characters who have romances. These romances aren't explored much, they're just mentioned in passing but like the murder plot they were very predictable. I could guess who would end up with who as soon as the characters were introduced.
For the most part the writing was fine but Krentz seems to end each scene at really odd moments, they never feel like they're quite finished. She doesn't end on cliff hangers, it's more like she ends halfway through a scene and then doesn't pick them up again later.
Overall I thought that this novel was very predictable, failed to build any suspense and wasn't very romantic. I have given this book two stars because I thought Cady's anxiety was written very well and the characters were both likeable but I certainly don't recommend this novel.