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Big Lake Kindle Edition
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|Length: 231 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The first one, Big Lake, a whodunnit, contained a nice twist ending. However, that ending is repeated in various ways in the other whodunnits of the series "If it was X in the first one, it must be Y in this one." Major character reveals can be seen coming from miles away (in Big Lake Reckoning, a character reveals something of her past that was obvious to the reader)..
The archetype characters who exist solely to annoy the protagonist have no redeeming features. They're two-dimensional cartoons. With major exceptions in Big Lake Scandal where two annoying characters are humanized.
Like most whodunnits, the sheriff seems a little slow to explore alternative theories of the crime that the reader is practically shouting at him to consider.
Situations are contrived that cause the characters to laugh hysterically, but leave the reader rolling his eyes.
So, what does the author succeed in? He's created a highly readable series. He's created likable (though somewhat stock) characters. He's created a good rationale for his small town's spiraling crime rate. And not every book in the series is a gruesome murder. Arson, rape, and robbery make their appearances as the crimes du jour. So, one is not left wondering why anyone would remain in a town with a near-constant murder rate.
The author is also unafraid to take on mature themes. One book centers around the rape of a young woman. Other mature matters (spousal abuse, teenage pregnancy, etc.) are discussed throughout the series in an adult manner. The causes of the crimes are real motivations; no one is killed over a cupcake recipe or a dog show ribbon.
In all, it's a fun series to read, consistently better than average for a small town cozy. Don't take it too seriously. Sit back and enjoy.
I also had some problems with the grammar, but as an old retired English teacher, I am probably more critical than most. ;-)
What really pushed my button in this book was the misuse of "it's" and "its". So many (new?) writers think "it's" is the possessive form, when it actually is the contraction for "it is" -- and that's ALL that it is. "Its" is the possessive (and yes, it's an exception to the rule). If you're going to be a professional writer, you have to use proper grammar.
(I also hate the widespread misuse of the pronoun "I" -- but that's another story.) ;-)
All in all, the book was worth my time, although the end was really abrupt. It felt like -- okay, I'm done, here's the answer, the end.
I like more satisfying endings, maybe with an epilogue. This ending was disappointing (not the revelation of the killer (who else could it have been?) but the rapidness of it all.