|Digital List Price:||$4.99|
|Print List Price:||$12.99|
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Dirty Little Secrets: A J.J. Graves Mystery (J.J. Graves Mysteries Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 302 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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At first, I didn’t care for J. J. Graves, the main character, but she grew on me over the course of the book, due in part to her slightly off-kilter way of describing things. Liking the MC is critical for me to enjoy a book. Offsetting that was her obsession with sex and getting laid. It was cute and a bit funny at first but quickly became tiring.
Hart filled the town of Bloody Mary with a host of stock characters. Everyone seems to have a lover. The women all gossip. The men all are broad-shouldered and strong. The local reporter is obnoxious. The councilman loves to throw his weight around.
There were quite a few places in the story where there were gaps in the narration that took me out of the flow of the story.
The ending here is from the ‘Where did that come from?’ school of climaxes. While Hart brings the guilty party on-stage early, nothing in the rest of the book gives the reader a hint this person might be the killer. That is the author not playing fair with the reader.
There were scads of production errors in this download – wrong words, missed words, wrong tenses, and the like. Those kinds of small (but all too common) errors should have been at thing of the past long before now. Come on, Amazon, you can do better.
I wouldn’t put the other books in this series on my ‘Must Read’ list, but pick them up if I come across them.
So what was shallow about it?
Oh my God - everything. The characters, the storytelling, the town of Bloody Mary itself. On the character front, you have a womanizing police sheriff, Jack, teaming up with his sexless best friend, JJ (Jaye), who is the town's mortician passing for the town's unofficial coroner going around town trying to catch a serial killer while at the time playing host to a bestselling murder mystery author, Brody, who is there for research toward his next book.
Okay, here's the part where I reiterate what I do in most of my reviews. I strive for spoiler-free explanations in all my reviews. I don't like this book - I already established that, however, I do respect another person's desire to read this. I'm not one of those jerks who like to spoil things for other people just because I thought I book was crap (there's a lot of people like that on these forums!). So with that said, I can proceed to say that my first problem with this story is the contradictory nature of the residents of this little backwater town of Bloody Mary (yeah, for real.).
How are people this biased, nosy, and meddling not suspicious of Brody from the beginning? He was the outsider. The brutality of the murders were said to be unheard of in this town where everyone knew and was related to everyone somehow someway. These people literally knew everyone's business. As anyone who lives in a small town knows, all eyes usually falls onto someone who isn't a resident when something this out of context happens. That's not saying that Brody is the killer - I'm just saying that it isn't realistic for the only stranger in town at the time of the crimes to not be a suspect until the last 90 percent of the story. He was virtually never suspected as the story info led us to believe he would be.
Then there's JJ herself. She lacked zero appeal and yet we're supposed to believe she is the object of so many affections? She was broke, self-deprecating, and insecure. The little love story thrown in the mix was as shallow and hard to believe as the rest of this story.
But what really disappointed me about this story was the overall nature of it. I was expecting something a little more dark if not sinister. All of the humor in this really got on my nerves. I felt like the author wanted you to make you laugh instead of enthrall you with a gripping murder mystery. I wasn't charmed by all the back stories in this. I didn't care to know just how everyone knew each other and who was having an affair with who. I felt like all the small town gossiping in this took the forefront of the mystery solving and it was annoying as all hell. I felt like screaming, "Can we get back to solving the damn murders, please!"
Lastly, there was no satisfactory climax in this - not to me. Even when the killer is revealed, I wasn't wowed. The person is someone you don't even care about - no one that makes you go "what, no way!" like a good plot twister does. And I say that openly because the fact is nobody in this entire book makes an impact on you. So in that respect, you're still free to speculate who the killer is.
I'm all for respecting a person's opinions, but I'm still trying to figure out why this has so many five-star ratings. I guess I'm just used to reading darker stuff of the genre like Kevin O'Brien (now that man can write a murder suspense that leaves you reeling). Recently, I've even taken to Sandra Brown again, who really knocks it out the park when it comes to combining romance and suspense/mystery. I really wanted to like this because the story info really hyped this up. But in the end the annoying characters and shallow investigation process in this really let me down.