None given – product page only lists review excerpts.
[Originally posted on Amazon 8/29/10]
This was a good first offering from a self-publishing author. Conary’s writing is focused and on target for the most part. She does a wonderful job of providing vivid descriptions so the reader really sees through the character’s eyes, yet is never too wordy. The novel starts out in a slightly hard-boiled style, but that is mostly left behind not too far into the book.
Conary does an excellent job of making a short book seem longer by following a couple cases in a pretty complex mystery. By complex I don’t mean the reader has a difficult time figuring out most of the whodunit aspects, but being able to do so relatively early on in no way makes the journey any less enjoyable in following all the intertwining leads.
One thing that I really appreciated is Conary’s one/two approach to revealing clues and information. At several points a key bit of information is revealed, but neither the author or Rachel (the PI) jump on it and draw red pointing arrows to it right away. Instead, the reader gets a chance to think, “aha, that’s important!” and savor their cleverness in picking the tidbit out of the flow of the story. Then usually shortly after that Rachel picks up on it too. This style made the mystery a lot of fun as a reader and it also avoided that frustration with a PI ignoring something for half a book, making you think they’re stupid.
Another thing that I appreciated was that Rachel wasn’t taking things on solo. When she found a vital piece of information she immediately turned it over to the police. It seemed like a much more realistic representation of PI work and is a bit unusual in PI novels. Things shifted drastically in the second half though when Rachel suddenly went all “Lone Ranger” (leading to some of those “boy you are stupid” thoughts), following in the footsteps of most fictional PIs who have gone before her. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed by that turn of events, but I’ll get over it.
Another aspect I enjoyed was the description of Rachel’s office and details about how she works cases with her table system. One of the things I’ve really liked about Grafton’s Milhone series is all the mundane information about how Kinsey writes up contracts and organizes her work. I suppose some may find those things boring, but I love the level of detail.
Something that was never made clear, and I think it should have been based on the book title and what is printed on Rachel’s business cards, is why she refers to herself as a bitch. The book title was appealing for that reason, but she never had what I consider a bitchy moment and she never even really gets that attitudinal. It’s not a problem with the book or character that she doesn’t, but it does leave it all totally unexplained in my mind.
I will add a caution, because it’s missing in the other reviews. There is an unexpected and rather graphic rape scene in the book. I’m pretty thick-skinned and read all sorts of books and normally that type of thing doesn’t get to me. And normally I wouldn’t even mention it. But since I found it disturbing I figured it was worth stating so that those who are sensitive to that topic will be forewarned.
Kindle Note: There were extremely few typo/punctuation types of mistakes, and aside from there being only extra space and not actual page breaks between the chapters the formatting was good. One thing though, the use of quote marks in the book title totally messes up this book in alphabetical sorting on the Kindle. The Kindle sorts by the punctuation mark and not the first word of the title. (I’ve made the author aware of this and she said she’d keep it in mind for future books.)