The Wrong Impression Entirely

That's what I'm leaving. If you look at what I've written so far and the books in my Library Thing one might get the idea that I spend my days reading nothing but admirably fiction and non-fiction with the occasional foray into the mystery genre. Sadly, this is not the case.

I'm way shallower than that and nothing proves that more than my seasonal attempts to clean out my book shelves. This effort reminds me every time that I'm still hoping for a revival of Gothic Romance Novels a'la Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart. And that if Gothic with a touch of the Supernatural came back, I'd be happy too. And that I am the reason that CourtTV (now TruTV) exists. There's nothing wrong with a little trash. Not just genre fiction. Trash. It just needs to be good trash to stay in my library. Unfortunately, I've yearned you need to read a lot of crap to find the gems in genre fiction.

Ghost Moon by Karen Robards isn't exactly crap, but it's in the donation bag.

The back cover promises the ingredients reminiscent of a Phyllis Whitney novel. The returning disgraced heroine, the long ago mystery, the sexy yet seemingly taken man from her best, the beautiful, bitchy rival and the buried secret. On the plus side, the writing is ok, the grammar shows signs of either an editor on the job or a high school diploma in action, the heroine, Olivia, isn't a complete wimp and opening scenes where the heroine returns home are nearly kick-ass good. The negative side, you ask. The first chapter is a flash back - rarely handled well in any circumstances - that involves a pedophile murdering child after hiding in her closet. The first line is: "Mom, I wet the bed." How's that for a grabber? It ends with the father of said child being falsely convicted of her murder. This is what is commonly known as a "downer". Better yet, it isn't tied to the main story for hundreds of pages. I found myself trying to figure out who among the characters, main and ancillary, could be the pedophile. There were only two candidates and one of them died early on. So either it was a lame mystery or the author was going to pull a villain out of ... nowhere.
Then we had the bratty over privileged child who is contrasted with the well-behaved yet Kmart clad little angel that Olivia dragged home with her. Of course, said brat is just acting out. Then we have the way that Olivia is related to the wealthy yet troubled Archer clan - I really wanted to draw up a little family tree so I could keep track of why it was that it was ok that Olivia is attracted to her step cousin, Seth, the aforementioned sexy yet taken one. Nearly everyone in this book is one thing YET another. It's that kind of book. Olivia's long beautiful brown hair gets described a lot and the menfolk of the town are all very happy Olivia is back. But this is a Romantic Thriller so you need to just go with that kind of thing. The little issue of whether Seth is taken is resolved well before the end as is the somewhat lame attempt to have Seth be hostile and disapproving toward Olivia. It's because her hair is just so damn beautiful, you see.

A good mystery could have save this. Now, whether a mystery involving a pedophile can be a good one when I'm the critic is probably a lost cause. I hate two things in fiction: serial killers and pedophiles. This was a serial killer pedophile at work. It was bound to suck. Then the villain was "unmasked" for anyone reading the book who couldn't do the math this character was the only one still standing who was old enough to commit the crime in the first chapter and the suckage went over the edge dragging the entire book with it.

Robards gets points for giving her characters relatively normal names, the good grammar and using Kmart as a plot point. Not a keeper, but not one I felt the need to hurl away either.

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