The Sherlockian

The SherlockianThe Sherlockian
by Graham Moore
Rating: ★★★
isbn: 9780446572583
Publication Date: January 1, 2010
Pages: 351
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Twelve Books (Hachette)

In December 1893, Sherlock Holmes-adoring Londoners eagerly opened their Strand magazines, anticipating the detective's next adventure, only to find the unthinkable: his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed their hero off. London spiraled into mourning-crowds sported black armbands in grief-and railed against Conan Doyle as his assassin.

Then in 1901, just as abruptly as Conan Doyle had "murdered" Holmes in "The Final Problem," he resurrected him. Though the writer kept detailed diaries of his days and work, Conan Doyle never explained this sudden change of heart. After his death, one of his journals from the interim period was discovered to be missing, and in the decades since, has never been found.... Or has it?

When literary researcher Harold White is inducted into the preeminent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society, The Baker Street Irregulars, he never imagines he's about to be thrust onto the hunt for the holy grail of Holmes-ophiles: the missing diary. But when the world's leading Doylean scholar is found murdered in his hotel room, it is Harold-using wisdom and methods gleaned from countless detective stories-who takes up the search, both for the diary and for the killer.


This book and I had problems.  Well, half this book and I had problems.  The other half was amusing if completely unrealistic.

The Sherlockian is a story told in two timelines: one that begins in 1893, when Conan Doyle makes the fateful decision to kill off Sherlock Holmes, and covers the events that happen though 1901; the other timeline takes place in the ‘present’, which is 2010, in this case.

The Holy Grail of Sherlockians has always been what happened to a cache of Conan Doyle’s papers that were missing after his death, including one of his journals, so the present day timeline is the search for that journal and the answers to who killed the Sherlockian who claimed to have found it, while the Conan Doyle timeline follows events that would have been recorded in the missing journal.

As I mentioned above, I found the present day timeline amusing in a mad-cap caper kind of way – the kind that requires a complete suspension of disbelief, as well as operating on the pretence that law enforcement, for all intents and purposes, no longer exist.  This story line is entirely about the thrill of the puzzle, the hunt, the process.

But here’s my beef, and it’s about the other timeline; the historical one.  This is a work of historical fiction, and the author is quick to point out at the end that all the events are fabricated.  Fine.  I read that type of historical fiction frequently – real people in fictional settings.  But usually the author has a greater respect for the real-life people he uses in his fictional story lines.  There’s an expectation that the author adhere to a character’s basic … character.

That categorically did not happen here.  Moore obviously did not care a whit for maintaining Conan Doyle’s integrity, because most of the historical timeline had him doing things so completely out of character as to drive me to yelling at the book.

If I knew nothing about Conan Doyle, I’d have found him and Bram Stoker dressing up as women and crashing a suffragette meeting mildly amusing, but I do know something about Conan Doyle.  Enough to know that it beggars belief to think of him doing anything of the sort.  If an author is going to write a fictional story using real historical people doing fictional things, those historical persons should do those fictional things the same way they’d do the factual things – otherwise, it’s not the same person and the author (and reader) would have been better served using a fictional character instead of maligning the real one.  (“Malign” does not refer to Conan Doyle dressing as a woman, but to a different event that to share would be a massive spoiler.)

So.  Half the book was amusing.  The other half … ok, the other half might have been amusing for someone who doesn’t know, or hold in such high regard, the real life people used for fictional purposes, against their basic characters.  If you know nothing about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and are in the mood for a bit of madcap mystery, go for it.  If you do know and admire ACD, you’ve been warned.

The Jewels of Paradise

The Jewels of ParadiseThe Jewels of Paradise
by Donna Leon
Rating: ★★★½
isbn: 9780802120649
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Pages: 244
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Atlantic Books

Donna Leon has won heaps of critical praise and legions of fans for her best-selling mystery series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. With The Jewels of Paradise, Leon takes readers beyond the world of the Venetian Questura in her first standalone novel.

Caterina Pellegrini is a native Venetian, and like so many of them, she s had to leave home to pursue her career. With a doctorate in baroque opera from Vienna, she lands in Manchester, England. Manchester, however, is no Venice. When Caterina gets word of a position back home, she jumps at the opportunity.

The job is an unusual one. After nearly three centuries, two locked trunks, believed to contain the papers of a baroque composer have been discovered. Deeply-connected in religious and political circles, the composer died childless; now two Venetians, descendants of his cousins, each claim inheritance. Caterina s job is to examine any enclosed papers to discover the testamentary disposition of the composer. But when her research takes her in unexpected directions she begins to wonder just what secrets these trunks may hold.


A compelling, yet weird, no-body mystery that reminds me in many ways of Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time.  Set in modern Venice, Italy with our MC researching the recently discovered papers of Baroque composer and bishop Agostino Steffani, in an attempt to settle a centuries old dispute over who inherited.

So much of this book is research, which was sometimes interesting but never what you’d call fast-paced, and while I love classical music, I dislike opera (no singing please, just the music), so at the beginning I worried for my attention span.  It soon becomes clear that the letters have very little to do with his ‘side’ career as composer and more to do with his diplomatic mission for the Vatican.  Even that sounds more exciting that what you get, but it is interesting.

The writing is good but the structure is wobbly and the characters all fail to set and feel half-formed or as though Leon couldn’t commit.  Leon obviously has issues about her own faith that bleed out through the pages.  The book remains an academic exercise until just past the mid-way point, when suddenly Leon throws connections to Opus Dei in, but never explains them, nor develops them.  Morretti’s motivations are never explained; we’re supposed to believe he’s a ‘bad guy’ but with no tangible reason or proof.  But she also seems unable to commit to whether this was going to be a suspenseful mystery, or an academic one.  A scene of menace is jarring and effective for its psychological impact, but nothing ever becomes of it and its eventual explanation is ineffective, at best.

I loved the ending though – such a perfect twist on importance between the secular and the religious.  The ending was almost perfect.

It was a good read, though as a standalone, it left too many threads dangling, and the author was too transparent about her own feelings about faith in my opinion; I thought it was good, but had it been better balanced and better executed it could have been amazing.

Skull Duggery (Gideon Oliver, #16)

Skull DuggerySkull Duggery
by Aaron Elkins
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9780425227978
Series: Gideon Oliver #16
Publication Date: January 1, 2009
Pages: 281
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime

Gideon is happy to be in Mexico with his wife-until he’s asked to examine the mummified corpse of a drifter thought to be shot to death. Gideon’s findings reveal that the cause of death is far more bizarre. Then he’s asked to examine the skeleton of a murder victim found a year earlier-only to discover another coroner error. The Skeleton Detective knows that two “mistakenly” identified bodies are never a coincidence. But if he isn’t careful, unearthing the connection between them could make him another murder statistic in Mexico.


Years ago – years and years ago now – this series was recommended to me by someone on BookLikes.  I never got around to hunting down the first book, but ran across this one at a used book sale a year or two later and bought it intending to hang onto it until I’d read the first 15 books.

Fast forward to last week, when I accepted that wasn’t going to happen and decided to just dive right in.

Turned out that was totally fine, I don’t feel like I missed anything at all, and best of all I was presented with a really good, solid mystery.  The pacing was leisurely, which frustrated me a bit at first, making me realising that even in books our attention spans have shrunk, but I found the characters and the writing interesting enough to dig out my store of patience.  I also put it down to read The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir when I was about 25% through, so obviously my store of patience could use some building up.

Once I picked it up again, though, it just all started working for me.  I like Gideon Oliver, a forensic anthropologist, and I loved the plot structure.  I knew from the start what the first plot twist would be, but that reveal was made so early it was clear there was far more coming.  It was all so laid back I kept wondering how the author was going to manage the moment in any mystery where the MC is in peril.  When it did happen it was so fast and furious and wtf? that it seemed anti-climatic, but from there the story just got more and more nicely twisty until the ending was just clever and satisfying.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have found a new series to seek out and enjoy – and it’s one that I’ll be happy to acquire at the same leisurely pace as the writing, with a sense of anticipation but not urgency.

DNF: A Fiancée’s Guide to First Wives and Murder

A Fiancée's Guide to First Wives and MurderA Fiancée's Guide to First Wives and Murder
by Dianne Freeman
Rating:
isbn: 9781496731609
Series: Countess of Harleigh Mystery #4
Publication Date: October 8, 2021
Pages: 295
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Kensington

For Frances Wynn, widow to the late Earl of Harleigh, life has a cosmopolitan flavor of late. No sooner has she sent her mother and daughter off on a shopping trip to Paris than she and her fiancé, George Hazleton, are socializing with visiting members of the Russian royal family. Yet amid this whirlwind, scandal also comes calling when Inspector Delaney turns up outside Frances's house with a young French woman with a shocking claim: she is Mrs. George Hazelton.

As the future Mrs. George Hazelton, Frances assumes the woman is either lying or demented. "Mrs. Hazelton," aka Irena, makes other outrageous statements. Among them, she insists that she is the illegitimate daughter of Russian royalty, that she has been abducted and held for ransom many times, and that someone is sending her threatening letters. When George arrives, he clarifies that he is certainly not married to Irena--though he can confirm her royal parentage. But even as he agrees to investigate whether Irena's life is in danger, her claim proves tragically true. Irena is found strangled in Frances' garden.

To uncover a killer--and clear their own names--Frances and George must determine which of Irena's outlandish stories were based in fact, and who stood to benefit from her death. And as the search reaches a shocking conclusion, they may find that villainy lurks all too close to home...


It’s rare that I DNF a book, and I enjoyed the first three of this series, but I got 45 pages in and … a big fat no.

I’m never going to be able to suspend my belief enough to read about a spoiled rotten by-blow of the Russian royal family who baldly lies about being the MC’s fiancé’s wife so she can blackmail him into investigating someone sending her letters.

In an age where a woman would be sent to a sanitarium for merely reading the wrong book, the idea that this silly child could successfully throw this tantrum and manipulate the main characters is beyond ridiculous.  I don’t care that she does end up dead, it’s a terrible, weak premise.

The Impossible Impostor (Veronica Speedwell, #7)

The Impossible ImpostorThe Impossible Impostor
by Deanna Raybourn
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9780593197295
Series: Veronica Speedwell Mystery #7
Publication Date: February 15, 2022
Pages: 327
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Mystery
Publisher: Berkley

London, 1889. Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian beau Stoker are summoned by Sir Hugo Montgomerie, head of Special Branch. He has a personal request on behalf of his goddaughter, Euphemia Hathaway. After years of traveling the world, her eldest brother, Jonathan, heir to Hathaway Hall, was believed to have been killed in the catastrophic eruption of Krakatoa a few years before.

But now a man matching Jonathan’s description and carrying his possessions has arrived at Hathaway Hall with no memory of his identity or where he has been. Could this man truly be Jonathan, back from the dead? Or is he a devious impostor, determined to gain ownership over the family’s most valuable possessions—a legendary parure of priceless Rajasthani jewels? It’s a delicate situation, and Veronica is Sir Hugo’s only hope.

Veronica and Stoker agree to go to Hathaway Hall to covertly investigate the mysterious amnesiac. Veronica is soon shocked to find herself face-to-face with a ghost from her past. To help Sir Hugo discover the truth, she must open doors to her own history that she long believed to be shut for good.


Not every book in a series can be equally excellent, and while this one was good, it wasn’t nearly as good as the first 6.  I suppose it was inevitable that a story line about Veronica’s illustrious past came into play, but I think Raybourn could have done a better job than mirroring Veronica’s experiences with Stoker’s so predictably, and I found Veronica stewing in her own guilt and emotional angst unpalatable from such a normally headstrong and independent woman.  I know nobody can get through life without some naval gazing, but it’s not the stuff I generally tend to enjoy reading about.

I also found the ending way too convenient and tidy, and I particularly dislike that Raybourn seems to have plans to play one brother against the other in the next book.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book for the characters and once I got a few chapters in, I lost myself in the adventures, even if I found myself critical of them.  My problems with the story in no way diminishes my enthusiasm for the series nor my anticipation of the next book.

Evil in Emerald (Harriet Gordon Mystery, #3)

Evil in EmeraldEvil in Emerald
by A.M. Stuart
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9780593335482
Series: Harriet Gordon #3
Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Pages: 347
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime

Craving a change of pace, Harriet Gordon, joins a local musical theatre production but when a fellow cast member is brutally killed, Harriet and Inspector Curran must turn the spotlight on murder in this all-new mystery from the author of Revenge in Rubies.

Between working at her brother’s school and typing up Inspector Robert Curran’s police reports, Harriet Gordon has little time for personal pursuits and she has been enjoying the rehearsals for her role in the Singapore Amateur Dramatic and Musical Society’s latest production – Pirates of Penzance. But Harriet quickly discovers tensions run deep within the theatre company and when the leading man is found murdered, suspicions abound, exposing scandalous behavior as well as some insidious crimes.

Inspector Curran once again turns to Harriet for help with this difficult case, but his own life begins to unravel as a mysterious man turns up on his doorstep claiming to know more about Curran’s painful past than he himself does. And after the one person he has always counted on delivers him some devastating news, the line between his personal and professional life begins to blur. Now, more than ever, Curran needs Harriet’s steadfast assistance, and when another cast member meets a violent end, Curran and Harriet will have to close in on a killer determined to make this case their final curtain call.


In a lot of ways, this series feels like a direct reaction to Little, Brown’s Su Lin series, written by Ovidia Yu: it’s set in British Colonial Singapore (albeit pre WWI as opposed to Yu’s interwar setting); Harriet Gordon, the female lead, though white and British, has a scandalous background and earns a meagre salary by typing reports for the police; Robert Curren is the detective – also with a scandalous past, a shady history, and a very private man with unconventional habits.  The two series are so similar, in fact, that I was prepared to swear that a character in this series – Curran’s love interest – was actually the love interest of the detective in the Su Lin series.  Both series have a Singh on the police force.

There’s a lot of similarities between the two series, but there are also a lot of fundamental differences.  Yu’s Su Lin series feels authentic from the viewpoint of the different Asian citizens of Singapore and Yu’s Singapore feels like the hot, humid, barely tamed jungle it surely was; reading her books is to put yourself in a very exotic setting.  Stuart’s pre-WWI Singapore is undoubtedly authentic too, but it’s definitely from the viewpoint of the colonisers.  Every bit of the story bleeds British, right down to the setting of Evil in Emerald, an amateur production of Pirates of Penzance.  All the primary characters are white (British, Aussie, Kiwi), and Singapore is sanitised.

I was just a touch more than indifferent after reading the first two books, but bought this one last week because I was in the mood for an historical mystery, and I have to say, the author convinced me with this one.  This time around, the characters gelled with me and I was far more interested in them than I was previously.  There’s a more pronounced element of romance in this series and I admit I like the dynamic developing between Gordon and Curran.

The mystery plotting was still average, though Stuart masked what would have felt to me to be a transparent crime by mixing in at least two other crimes involving the mix of the same suspects.  It worked, for the most part.  I wasn’t at all surprised by the murderer, but I wasn’t ever bored with the waiting to find out if I was right or not.

Unfortunately, the author uses this book as a springboard to complications for Curran, and uses the last chapters to setup the direction of the next book. I wouldn’t find this so irritating if I hadn’t bought the book on publication.  As it is, I’m finally interested and now have to wait who-knows-how-long before the next one comes out.

All in all, a developing series with promise if you’re looking for an historical mystery series, and enjoy the British variety – but for an historical mystery series that’s dripping with exotic, authentic Singaporean atmosphere, stick with Ovidia Yu’s Su Lin series.  Me? I like both – double the reading pleasure! I just have to remember who belongs in where.

Familiar Motives (Witch’s Cat Mystery, #3)

Familiar MotivesFamiliar Motives
by Delia James
Rating: ★★★
isbn: 9780451476593
Series: Witch's Cat Mystery #3
Publication Date: October 15, 2017
Pages: 321
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Berkley

After learning that she comes from a family of witches—and adopting a familiar named Alistair—artist Annabelle Britton has made beautiful Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her home. Together with her coven, this good witch is trying to put a stop to magic and murder most foul.

When Anna takes Alistair to see local veterinarian Ramona Forsythe, they meet the most famous cat in town: Ruby the Attitude Cat, spokes-feline for a pet food brand. But then Ramona turns up dead, and Ruby goes missing. It seems like the murderer used magical means, so it’s up to Anna and Alistair to catch a killer and cat-napper as only a canny cat can.


I’ve been trying to make a dent in my TBR piles recently, mostly, if I’m being honest, because I’m waiting for the new books I’ve ordered to arrive.  No matter my true motive, it’s a good feeling knowing there’s at least one or two fewer books languishing about.

This one had not only been loafing about on the hills of tbr, but it was the final book in a short-lived series, so the satisfaction of getting it read was doubled.

Unfortunately, that’s about the only real satisfaction I received from reading Familiar Motives.  The story itself was another ‘meh’ mystery – or else it was just me.  It really might have been me.  I liked the characters, I loved the cats, and the plot-line wasn’t frivolous.  But the pacing felt manic – not fast; manic – and the witty writing felt forced at times, adding to the manic feel.  I skimmed large sections of internal narrative because the pacing left me feeling manic to get to the end.

When I did get to the end, I liked it.  It was a good denouement, although the plot had too many pieces rather clumsily put together.  But to be fair, that could have been a product of the skimming I did, so I’m giving that a pass.

While it wasn’t a winner, I’m ok with that; the completist in my is happy that I haven’t left a series unfinished, and the responsible adult in me is happy to see one more book off the TBR range.  The reader thinks the book could have been better, but really, it didn’t suck either.

A Dark and Twisting Path (Writer’s Apprentice, #3)

A Dark and Twisting PathA Dark and Twisting Path
by Julia Buckley
Rating: ★★★
isbn: 9780425282625
Series: Writer's Apprentice Mystery #3
Publication Date: July 21, 2018
Pages: 290
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Berkley

Lena’s best friend, Allison, is in a panic. On a walk in the woods by her home, Allison discovers the body of her mail carrier, an argumentative man who recently had a falling out with Allison’s husband. Lena quickly realizes that Allison has nothing to worry about as the murder weapon points to a different suspect altogether: Lena’s embattled boyfriend, Sam West.

Sam was cleared of his wife’s murder when she was found alive, and now someone is trying to make him look guilty again. Surveillance video of a break-in at his house shows a shadowy figure trying to incriminate him by stealing the weapon from his desk. Lena and Camilla work on a suspect list, but a threatening note and a violent intrusion at Graham House prove that the devious killer has decided to write them into the plot.


I read and liked the first two in this series quite a lot; as a duology they worked really well.  This book could be considered the third of a trilogy, because it wraps up the series arc, but it was far less satisfying and a lot more ‘meh’.  The author dedicates the book to Victoria Holt, who has obviously had an impact on her, and it’s clear that she’s attempting to imbue this series with that same gothic atmosphere, but what works in 1970’s romantic suspense struggles a lot in a modern setting.  The result feels a bit melodramatic; not so much that I could convince myself it was a pastiche (it wasn’t meant to be), but enough that the MC’s character started to grate on my nerves here and there.  I thought her calling a couple of other characters “outsiders” and claiming they shouldn’t be trusted because they were outsiders a particularly bold authorial choice in today’s climate.  In the context of the story, I didn’t disagree with her reasoning, but found the baldly stated phrasing jarring and odd.

The plot also harkens back to the 70’s with a suave, charismatic villain and accomplice who do everything short of rubbing their hands and cackling.  In a book I know is dated, this type of thing is fun.  In a book that’s contemporary, it just feels over the top and … well, it just failed to sell it in any context.

Still, not a bad book, just … meh.  I think I’ll probably leave this series here, at least for now.  It’s good enough that at some future point I might want to pick it up and see where the author takes the series.

Murder à la Mocha

Murder à la MochaMurder à la Mocha
by Sandra Balzo
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9780727888242
Series: Maggy Thorsen Mystery #11
Publication Date: September 28, 2018
Pages: 198
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Severn House

Maggy Thorsen’s evening with her fiancé Sheriff Jake Pavlik and his parents in Chicago takes a dramatic turn when Jake’s mother falls ill, then a Chihuahua jumps in front of Maggy’s car on her drive back to Uncommon Grounds, her Wisconsin coffeehouse. Attempting to return Mocha to her owners, George and Marian Satterwite, the following day, Maggy comes face-to-face with Arial, their dog-sitter and her business partner Sarah’s niece. But something doesn’t feel right . . .

Returning to the property, Maggy and Marian make a shocking discovery. And where are George and Arial? With Jake still in Chicago and Sarah desperate to find her niece, Maggy is soon drawn into another deadly puzzle.


This is one of those cozy series that is always satisfying, but not so gripping that I’m chomping at the bit to read the next one. That sounds a bit back-handed, but I don’t mean it that way.  The characters, plotting and mysteries in this series offer me a nice balanced pleasure when I’m looking for cozy without the cloy.  They feel like a healthy habit, as opposed to the series that I binge or feel the need to purge.

It’s been awhile (years) since I read about Maggie and Sarah and Pavlic, but everything came back nicely and I was able to fall right back into things in Wisconsin.  The mysteries are solid, but the narrative is easy and light; the dialog crackles with wit and sarcasm as Maggie and Sarah trade affectionate barbs and play off each other verbally.  Maggie is the resigned owner of her college age son’s Old English Sheepdog, and finds a long-haired Chihuahua runaway one night on her way home.  The interactions between sheepdog and chihuahua guarantee laugh-out-loud moments as do the scenes at a local dog park.  Dog lovers may or may not like the mystery, but will probably find a lot of relatable moments in all the scenes involving dogs.

I was delighted to discover that I’m three books behind this long running series; I’ve ordered the next two already, happy in the knowledge that once I get them, they’ll sit comfortably on my TBR, neither nagging nor languishing, until I’m ready for another well-written cozy.

The Tale of Halcyon Crane

The Tale of Halcyon CraneThe Tale of Halcyon Crane
by Wendy Webb
Rating: ★★★
isbn: 9780805091403
Publication Date: March 30, 2010
Pages: 328
Genre: Fiction, Suspense
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks

When a mysterious letter lands in Hallie James's mailbox, her life is upended. Hallie was raised by her loving father, having been told her mother died in a fire decades earlier. But it turns out that her mother, Madlyn, was alive until very recently. Why would Hallie's father have taken her away from Madlyn? What really happened to her family thirty years ago?

In search of answers, Hallie travels to the place where her mother lived, a remote island in the middle of the Great Lakes. The stiff islanders fix her first with icy stares and then unabashed amazement as they recognize why she looks so familiar, and Hallie quickly realizes her family's dark secrets are enmeshed in the history of this strange place. But not everyone greets her with such a chilly reception—a coffee-shop owner and the family's lawyer both warm to Hallie, and the possibility of romance blooms. And then there's the grand Victorian house bequeathed to her—maybe it's the eerie atmosphere or maybe it's the prim, elderly maid who used to work for her mother, but Hallie just can't shake the feeling that strange things are starting to happen . . .


Meh.  A good story, but not a well told one.  In the author’s defence, I think it’s her first book, published about 12 years ago and the only one published by Henry Holt (I believe all the rest of her books are published by an Amazon subsidiary).

The premise of the story is a gripping one: when Hallie was 5, her father faked her and his deaths, spiriting her away to the other side of the country, convincing her that her mother died in a house fire where everything was lost.  He gets away with it for over 30 years, until early-onset Alzheimer’s sets in and a picture of him and Hallie end up in the newspaper honouring him for his dedicated teaching career.  Her mother, thinking her dead all these years, finds out, only to write her a letter, conveniently change her will, and die of a heart attack, leaving Hallie the sole heir of a mother she thought long dead and never got to meet.  A day later, her father passes too.

This is where the book begins, with Hallie heading to the island in Lake Superior, devastated and in shock and wondering why her perfect and adored father would have committed such a crime.

This is definitely a ghost story, unlike my first Wendy Webb (also the most recent, I believe).  It’s just not a very spooky one, although it definitely should be; the crap that went down in that house should have made me hair stand on end.  But it didn’t.

This also tries to be a romance.  I like both the characters and I don’t doubt they fell in loved and lived happily ever after, but I wasn’t moved by it.

I’m pretty sure there’s supposed to be an element of suspense, but I never felt suspended.  I was pretty certain I knew who Iris was, and although I was correct, there is a twist at the end I didn’t anticipate at all.  It should have been more shocking than it was, and instead it just left me surprised; a ‘huh’ instead of a ‘holy crap!’.

Like I said, a lot of good elements, but executed clumsily.  I feel like, had this story been written by someone like Simone St. James, I’d have had to sleep with the lights on for a week.  Instead, I’m not sure I’ll remember much of it by the time I go to sleep tonight.