Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review: Moonlighting in Vermont

I rarely knock a book down an entire star for the production value, but the author needs to hire someone who can sniff out the errors before publishing. The production value of this e-book did hurt my enjoyment of an otherwise decent short novel. Moonlighting in Vermont won the 2009 Daphne du Maurier award for excellence in the Mystery/Suspense category from the Romance Writers of America. I can only assume they were reading the paperback version.

I liked the kind of nutty tenacity the heroine, Bella Bree MacGowan, has toward her situation and life. Although, the Rachel Ray look-a-like "without the benefit of a hair an makeup stylist," seems very unpractical in other ways. How many times does she have to slip in the mud before she gets boots appropriate for the muddy environs? After a while, the gag isn't funny. Like most amateur-by-circumstance sleuths, she continually puts herself and others in jeopardy. That is to be expected and most of these incidents are done in a reasonable approach. The romantic scenes are well done. The search her boss's killer, despite the fact that she found the body, loses some traction in favor of the romances (real, imagined, or thought about) in her life. Finding the body made her the #1 suspect, and the investigator, who may or may not have the hots for her, keeps her locked in his sights almost to a creepy, draconian level.

She's self-sufficient and boldly frank for a romantic lead. Good. It is a romantic-mystery, but the mystery plot aspect is thin. Being in the presence of cops, talking to them, being put in awkward situations with them does not make a mystery, and the mystery is only solved by bumbling and accidental incidents that seem slightly contrived. The reveals in her interview with the killer (with the killer's lawyer present) are just silly. Reading between the technical issues, the writing appears to be fine. The paperback is probably a good read and worthy of a solid 4 for the romance; the mystery is less intriguing with one major twist, but little for true mystery buffs to chew on. Don't expect to be happy with electronic version, and, therefore, a 3.


Shelia said...

First who is Daphne du Maurier? And what is her (its) credibility? I googled the website which is vague.

Thanks for the review. This is one book I won't be tempted to read.

I read another eBook that won a similar adward (Beach Book Festival Award for Spirituality). The book was so poorly written I could barely hang in there for the finish. I'd promised the author a review but couldn't do it. It wasn't even worth one star! Maybe she should read your last blog!

Bob Sanchez said...

Rick, this looks like a fair and thoughtful review. Good job.