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Book Review: IN MALICE, QUITE CLOSE
(Brandi Lynn Ryder)

It starts with a rich, seductive voice that is both creepy and compelling.  The narrator, Tristan Mourault, is following a 15-year-old girl.
Had no one told her she shouldn't be alone on the pier as the sun starts to fall? She was perhaps five feet tall, a waif with a cagey stance. The girlish curves I'd memorized that day in the park were hidden now beneath thrift-store jeans and an oversize hooded jacket. She didn't take up the space entitled to her; she had not been taught how. And who were these people who looked after her? They didn't see the beauty I saw. If I had done nothing, she would not have seen it either. She would be like everyone else, do you understand?
He concocts a plan to "rescue" her from her family, and she goes right along with it because her home life is far less than ideal and Mourault is not your textbook perv -- he's French, suave, handsome, rich, intelligent and extremely patient. In fact, he's so smooth and gentle we begin to forget he's a bad guy.  (We also are instantly reminded of LOLITA.)

After the getaway, they pass themselves off as father and daughter. By twist and by turn, the years pass, and we are swept along into a readable, memorable book with well-drawn characters, lots of sexy undercurrents and many mysteries to solve.

But the further we go, the more we wonder why the author felt the story needed quite so many convolutions. The plot seems unnecessarily complicated on multiple levels. And it strains credibility with its excessive coincidences. It would have benefited from a bit more development editing.

If that sort of thing doesn't bother you, however, you might enjoy the story for the writing, which is lovely.  I look forward to the next effort by this new author.

Click here to read more about the book in a conversation with author Brandi Lynn Ryder. (Beware, plot spoilers included.)

2 comments:

  1. I was drawn to this book because of the beautiful writing when I read an excerpt, and I love the title. The characters intrigued me. I think I'll skip reading the entire thing, however, because I'm bothered by too much coincidence, i.e., more than two instances. And while I like multiple story threads, over-complicating a narrative loses me, too.

    I look forward to the next book by the author, too. I think she has a wonderful voice.

    Best,

    LCC

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  2. So many books, so little time. Can't wait to read the review of what you decided to read instead. Thanks for commenting, LCC.

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