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Treasure Hunting in the Southwest,
This review is from: Rattled (Kindle Edition)
The premise of this romantic suspense intrigued me: treasure hunting in the Southwest by a college history professor. The setting and plot line combine several of my own passions.
Unfortunately, although I should have been able to identify with the mature heroine, Erin, I found that she was too often characterized in a way more suitable for a teenager: the two women scream at each other in excitement when she finds the essential clue; she figures one of the mysterious men who show a romantic interest in her is "so damn cute," he surely couldn't be a bad guy; she and her friend Camie act like "little girls whispering secrets at a slumber party," etc. Overall, Camie is more interesting than Erin, though Erin's development of courage and daring throughout the book is a nice touch.
In contrast to the women, the men are too stereotypical of the romantic suspense genre: Drew as ex-military, a helicopter pilot who hangs out in bars and isn't "used to women ignoring him"; Mitchell as a greedy, self-serving mining company employee; the thugs as mobster types who wouldn't have looked out of place in New Jersey. Drew also does a lot of eavesdropping, which seems uncharacteristically weak for a man with his background. And Mitchell, the erstwhile boyfriend, winds up "defending his territory [Erin] from a strange male" while she's in the hospital.
The plot, for which I had such high hopes, quickly became shopworn and degenerated into unbelievable life-threatening events: a high-speed offroad vehicle chase, an inexperienced rider riding a strange horse bareback cross-country, not just one but two tangles with rattlesnakes, a flash flood, and fight scenes pitting unarmed women's self-defense skills against guns and knives. Oddly, despite all these action scenes, the pacing sometimes got bogged down, with too much passive time spent in Erin's head.
Other flaws in terms of writing style include the author's approach to descriptions, which are clear but not compelling and verge on cliché: "land undulated in pink and tan waves"; eyes "blue as a desert sky on a summer day"; "cheeks sore from smiling." In addition, the punctuation in dialogue sometimes makes it difficult to read.
Apart from such minor issues, though, the writing is pleasant and engaging. The point of view is maintained well, except for a few places where the formatting appears to be messed up, with one character's POV flowing into another without even a period at the end of the preceding paragraph. The author tells a good story that is bound to appeal to many readers.
Editorial quibbles for those who are bothered by such things:
This book is largely clean and error-free, except a few scene/POV transitions (mentioned above) and some misused words ("Calvary" instead of "Cavalry," "bellow" instead of "below," "mantle" instead of "mantel," etc.).
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book to review.