By Janice Foster
Julia Anderson has suffered paranoia for years. She’s sure that someone is trying to kill her. Her main suspect is her fiance, Trinstan. Julia believes Trinstan is a serial killer who has been terrorizing the area of late.
Meanwhile, Casey Donovan is haunted by a heinous act he committed 25 years ago. He’s worried someone might discover the object he buried out in the woods.
Okay, I don’t mind suspense stories. This is nothing new. A girl believes her beau is a killer. Pretty basic, and I think the story reflects that basic-ness (if I am allowed to create a word here).
Casey Donovan: married with child (at the beginning of book)
Serena Donovan: 25, Casey’s daughter, Jake’s girlfriend, short red hair, tall slim, dark eyes,
Julia Anderson: 29, drives a red Jaguar F-Type, mother dead, long black hair with auburn highlights, oval face, blue eyes,
Trinston Tanner: Julia’s fiance, 6′, handsome, green eyes, short black hair, drives a Ferrari, has a brother
Jake Coltan: Julia’s brother, new attorney
The last names of some characters aren’t revealed or aren’t mentioned until later in the story. Another problem is there are no details about Trinston other than he has some family (uncle, aunt, grandfather). No employment details for him or Casey or Serena or Julia. There is a lot of surface stuff here. No real history explained about Julia’s paranoia, how she’s coped, etc.
Some conversations have two tag lines or two sets of dialogue with two different tag lines: “Casey,” she called, “you’re scaring me,” she exclaimed. Two tag lines aren’t needed.
Speaking of tag lines, there are too many tags other than ‘said’. ‘Said’ is fine for most instances. Too much repetition in the other tags. There are also pieces of sentences used as tag lines that can’t be.
Way too many adverbs in conversations and elsewhere and too many repetitive adverbs after tag lines. ‘Emotionally’, ‘determinedly’, ‘furiously’, ‘hysterically’, etc.
The dialogue characters have when nobody else is around is not only unrealistic, it’s irritating. The narrator can do a better job of explaining and showing the emotions or thoughts of the characters.
Capitalization problems. Misspelled words. (For instance fiance is often spelled with one ‘e’ in one sentence and two in another.) Formatting problems with varying spaces between sentences and underlined words instead of italicized. Punctuation problems, including commas missing or in the wrong places.
I didn’t get a picture of where the story takes place. A lot of woods, a lonely cabin, but no city names, time of year or other details about setting.
Characters’ thoughts aren’t realistic. People don’t think in paragraphs. Some of the lengthy internal dialogue could be explained by the narrator.
A lot of repetition in both topic (usually in conversation) and description. Once a description is given for something or someone, there is no need to repeat the description later.
When switching POV in a tense scene, there’s no need to tell the reader the POV is switching: i.e. – From the killer’s perspective… Back in the car…
Speaking of cars- Most of the first 90+ pages deal with Julia involved in an auto accident. I won’t play spoiler beyond that, but in the aftermath, nobody calls the police. Not believable, especially with what was discovered about the accident. Where’s the pesky detective mentioned? He’s doesn’t show up until late in the story. It’s as if there was another part of the story before this one that the readers don’t see.
There was too much with Julia thinking bad stuff about Trinston. Over and over, but she really doesn’t do anything, makes no plans to find more evidence, just worries every minute. There’s a serial killer out there but all of the killer’s murders are done before the story starts.
This was a very weak story all the way around.