Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein

Final JeopardyAlexandra Cooper, Manhattan’s top sex crimes prosecutor, awakens one morning to shoking news: a tabloid headline announcing her own brutal murder. But the actual victim was Isabella Lascar, the Hollywood film star who sought refuge at Alex’s Martha’s Vineyard retreat. Was Isabella targeted by a stalker or — mistaken for Alex — was she in the wrong place at the wrong time? In an investigation that twists from the back alleys of lower Manhattan to the chic salons of the Upper East Side. Alex knows she’s in final jeopardy…and time is running out. She has to get into the killer’s head before the killer gets to her. (From Amazon.ca)

I thought, as a Law and Order SVU fan, this might be something I might like (except in book format). Well, it was all right at first. I liked Alexandra. A very strong willed character, although she had her girlie moments, she wasn’t a stone cold woman of ice either. That was good. Her friendship with Mike Chapman was really fun to read. Chapman made the story more interesting with his sense of humor. His jabs towards Alexandra (and vice versa) were fun to read.

The plot was all right. It wasn’t really that exciting. The only twist was who Isabella’s male companion was, but it wasn’t that shocking or revealing. However, I’m glad Alexandra didn’t mope about and became dramatic diva over that moment. I do like seeing her all up in a temper though – that was really entertaining to watch.

So, the plot was rather mediocre, and although I did like the characters, it wasn’t enough to make me fully enjoy the book. What rather killed it for me was, it was rather dry. So dry, it took me a while to finish a book that only had 336 pages. Oh boy, did it ever drag. On top of that, Alexandra also handles many other cases and it’s all mixed in with the main case featuring Isabella. Now although this is realistic, to me it felt like it was added to fill in pages of the book. It wasn’t exciting, it didn’t particularly interest me, and there were many minor characters added you could not keep track without at least back tracking to figure out which case she’s talking about now. It came to the point where I skimmed through most of the last third of the book, read the grand climax (which wasn’t that great in the first place) and then I was done.

I was just curious what was so great about these series and I just wanted to see how it was like. I realize this is the first book so of course, perhaps books after this one are better. Yet, I’m not sure if I’m going to get the second book. If it’s like this one, I will pass. This might not be for everyone, but those that are into legal thrillers are welcome to try and see for yourselves.

I give it a 1/10

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Review of The Hidden by Bill Pronzini

The Hidden

The Hidden

A series of seemingly random murders along a fifty-mile stretch of the rugged northern California coast, committed by an unknown dubbed by the media the Coastline Killer. A young couple with marital problems, Shelby and Jay Macklin, who decide to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s at a friend’s remote coastal cottage. Two couples in a neighboring home whose relationships are thick with festering menace. A fierce winter storm that leads to a night of unrelenting terror. (Amazon.ca)

It certainly started off interesting. It had all the right elements of suspense and it got me reading further into it. Then it stops. The plot suddenly focuses mainly on the deteriorating relationship between Jay and Shelby and the killer suddenly disappears from the story. Huh? why? and the suspense was just getting along fine! However! I actually liked the spotlight on the two of them. It did provide character development despite the lack of suspense.

As the story progressed, I found myself losing interest. New characters were introduced so the reader is provided with some potential suspects. I didn’t think much of any of them though. They seemed strange, and little out of place and for a minute I thought perhaps it was going to take a turn for the creepy and give the plot a more sinster feel. Unfortunately, I was wrong and it felt as if the characters were placed there out of convenience without any real thought to them.

Towards the end of the novel I just wanted this to be over with, and when the killer was revealed I wasn’t interested in the story anymore. Honestly, I was wondering more about the outcome of Shelby and Jay’s future instead of the mystery. Their marital situation just seemed much more interesting than the mystery itself. It had a lot of potential in the beginning, yet it fell short of its mark. I nearly didn’t finish the book but as it’s only about 200 pages I decided to get it over with anyway. I don’t think I can recommend this to anyone, as there’s plenty of better suspense novels out there.

I give it a 1 out of 10.

Side Order (SPOILER ALERT): When the killer was revealed to be someone not even on the list of suspects, I just about nearly quit the book. As much as I hate to say this, this has to be the worst book I’ve read of 2011 so far.