Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Review: Fatal Embrace by Aris Whittier

Review: Fatal Embrace
Author: Aris Whittier
No of Pages: 251
Release Date: 2 October 2005

Several years ago, Michael Craven gave up his career as a detective when his fiancé was killed and her killer never caught. Living with the guilt, he throws himself into his Montana ranch and his solitary existence. But, when a serial killer starts making his way through a nearby town, Michael is asked to come back and help a good friend and fellow detective, solve the crime. In doing so, he must hire someone to take his place on the ranch.
When horse trainer, Jess Stanson shows up, it takes Michael by surprise. Jess turns out to be Jessica. Jessica convinces him to let her stay. Over time they established a fragile friendship. Although, on the inside both feel more but, Michael's past prevents him from being anything but distant and serious.

As Michael works diligently to track down the killer he finds that Jessica is the only witness to the case. Vowing to protect her with his life and keep his growing feelings separate is no easy task. When Jessica becomes a target it becomes personal for Michael and he can no longer deny his love for this spirited woman. He will do anything to protect her, including giving his own life.

My Thoughts:

Fatal Embrace was nothing if not predictable.

Jessica Stanson is a horse trainer, a female one, and when she shows up at Michael Carven’s farm for her first day of work, he flips. He doesn’t want a girl running his stables let alone a woman living in his house.

But they grow closer as Jessica helps Michael finally get past his traumatic loss and simultaneously fight the common enemy in the form of a serial killer that is after her.

Jessica was a nice enough character, feisty and intelligent, but iin many ways she was also extremely stupid. If there was a serial killer after me I would barely want to leave the house let alone go flouncing around by myself for drives out to other farms or going into a not very busy town by myself.

Michael was a complete contradiction of himself. One minute he is angry at Jess, the next he can’t stand to be without her, but before even finishing that breath he is pushing her away again. He just couldn’t make up his mind and his emotions were all over the place, but not in a good way. Michael was not an asset to this story, no matter how major his part was.

The writing in Fatal Embrace, for me, was very frustrating to read. Facts didn’t add up, leads weren’t followed up and obvious clues were completely looked over. Basically I had the killer worked out as soon as all of the main and secondary characters were laid out on the table, which wasn’t that far in.

Then we have the writing itself, which was jerky and badly formatted. Most formatting errors I can overlook but words were in the wrong place and the wrong “there” was used a couple of times. But what killed Fatal Embrace for me completely was Whittier never seemed to know whose head she was in. The POV would jump from Jessica to Michael in a sentence, no breaks or obvious change overs, it took a lot of re-reading on my part to keep up with whose head we were in at any one time and even after you thought you had it figured out, you still weren’t right.

I also had a lot of trouble with some of the major details in Fatal Embrace, Michael might be working on the investigation, but he isn’t a cop, he’s just a ranch owner, he used to be a cop, but he quit the force, and yet he is questioning people, knocking on peoples doors and acting like he is the chief without so much as a flash of a badge? Women are scared of what’s out there and yet here they are letting a strange man who claims to be a cop, but has no idea, into their house while they are alone? It doesn’t make sense.

My other pet peeve for Fatal Embrace was the sex break we took right towards the end, instead of finding the serial killer Jess and Michael decided to bed down for the last ten to fifteen pages so we could cram the climax into two pages of broken action.

Fatal Embrace had a pull over me, because I wanted to confirm that I was right. Other than that it was a very frustrating and predicatable read.


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