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Identity Crisis (A Sam McRae Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 254 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top customer reviews
Unfortunately, it's a little too packed with plot -- to the extent that the final act goes off the rails, with way too many scenes in which way too much is explained. I found myself jumping back and forth, trying to make sense of who did what to who and for what reasons, and not often succeeding.
And what's explained most of all is that most of the mystery in the preceding pages was a red herring that distracted from a solution that no reader of "Identity Crisis" could possibly have anticipated. That, in my opinion, cheated me as a reader out of the "Aha! Fiendishly clever! I should have figured that one out!" moment that makes good mystery fiction so satisfying.
What was ostensibly a tale of identity theft and murderous greed -- and a very complicated one at that, filled with shifting money, drifting evidence and possible double-crosses by the bucketful -- gets almost completely tossed aside in favor of a story of personal vengeance that comes out of nowhere. It all culminates in an overly talky climactic scene in which the killers, peripheral characters to that point, all but stop the action to explain. And explain and explain and explain.
The overall impression I get is that the author lost the handle on the plot and had to scramble to tie together several loose strands of plot.
I'd almost be OK with that if I cared more about the characters, but the book's heroine, Sam McRae, is not particularly well-developed. She's a lawyer who seems to have only one client -- someone who starts off being charged with murder and ends up almost completely offstage -- and seems to forget her canon of ethics as often as not. Some of the things she does, like being ahead of the police in questioning the owner of a strip club that appears to be run by a couple of scam artists or not reporting a mob beating that hospitalized her for a week, stretch plausibility to the breaking point.
The shadings of her character seem to be cobbled together from other detective novels -- a cat, a crappy car, a caretaker neighbor and a complacent lover among them -- and don't add up to anything compelling. (I did appreciate that the developing new love interest, a competing investigator, was nicely underplayed.)
All that being said, I admired Mack's grasp of genre craft, and was glad to see that she ensured her novel received strong story-editing and copy-editing. While I was disappointed in "Identity Crisis," I also see that Debbi Mack knows her stuff. So I'll give her, and Sam McRae, another chance in the next book in this series, the just-released "Least Wanted."
The identity theft theme is not developed well. It is a good idea to build a plot around this new, scary and ubiquitous crime. The author should have taken the time and energy to learn something about identity theft, to add some meat. This is a salad book, not a meat and potatoes book.
I think it is worth buying at the Kindle price by those who like mysteries.
So, why was there a POBox with her name on it and mail to someone else? What WAS in that envelope? How did it relate to the case?
As reviewer "Kete" stated, how could she get kidnapped by the Mob, beaten so badly as to require a one week stay (I had surgery in March and they only let me stay for 2 nights and I had bones removed and replaced!) and NO ONE ASKS ANY QUESTIONS???? She didn't report THAT to her friend the cop, but she's reporting that she follows someone to the airport? And while we're at the airport, what happened to the guy who went to the airport and what was his part in the whole thing? And once the Mob guys were in the automobile accident, everyone else in the Mob just forgets about her and she doesn't have to worry anymore? HUH?????
If it's free for your Kindle and you might get caught in airport delays, it's probably worth the download.
However, having said all of that, having lived in the area where this book was set, I would read another offering from Ms. Mack, hoping that she would have better writing, plot development, editing, consistency in her next story.
For me, Sam McCrae was more of a detective than she was an attorney, and perhaps that's the problem I had with the story because I was looking for more legal-ese, and I just didn't get that much.
Sam's client, Melanie, was being accused of identity theft, and factor in her ex-boyfriend was recently found murdered, all evidence seemed to point in Melanie's direction, or was she being framed, and if so, why? You'll have to read to find out.
This is a smooth read and the characters are likable, but again, for me, this story lacked the excitement I look for in legal novels, but it was written pretty well.