Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Review: Zero Balance

Zero Balance -- What a snake pit of bad guys! Why would anyone even want to stay and help save a company of vipers like Audra did? Even with her overly long interior monologue early in the story (which several characters also had), I'm still at a loss why she stayed. (Yeah, I read all the psychobabble why.) Most evil people can't hide their evil that well. And she sure was blind to so many of them. Not new, but a rather unique, the author gets points for doing each chapter with the first person POV of each character. However, it made the read choppy for me, resetting what was going on over and over again instead of freely flowing from one chapter to another following the flow of a rather twisty and complex plot line. The device worked better near the end than the beginning.

Despite a decent top-level plot, I had to overcome the believability associated with many of the detailed aspects of the plot. The bad guys' (and there were some interesting end-of-tale twists) planning was either over-the-top with preparation that was going to be easily unraveled by a competent detective or haphazard impromptu efforts to fix several miscues. If you must have an evil genius, make the plan equivalent. The most silly event was the guy in the bushes near the end, and the stretched-beyond-belief reason why Audra had to go home again. Every rental car in Phoenix was rented? Come on, now.

There was suspense, but in the end, it wasn't a very satisfying read for me. I couldn't even get behind Audra, despite some of her heroics in the end. Nearly everyone was bad, badder, or just evil, with odd vigilante justice metered out near the end using a crude technique that had almost no margin of belief that it would work as designed. The only one I felt for was the detective for being drawn into this mess, and the older woman, whose centric role in all this still mystifies me a bit. This is a fence-straddler for me. Since I'm not enticed to read the first or next book in the series, I'll give it a top-notch "3".

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