Sex, Love & Murder

Sex, Love & Murder - Sandy Semerad Where do I start with this incredible mess?

First, let's look at the characters. Neither story nor the characters grip the reader. The characters are unbelievably shallow; they do not evoke sympathy, interest or empathy. We are told that the moment Jay meets Lilah, he wants her, loves her etc. The attraction between them just isn't there - we have to take the author's word for it. There is no tension between them, no sparkle - nothing. Basically, you couldn't care less about them. The book is simply incredibly boring. I love romantic suspense, but this book does not deliver.

Next, we have a heroine who is TSTL. She is supposed to be this great reporter who gets a private interview with the vice president and whose deceased husband of 19 years was an attorney. She finds a suitcase full of money and what does she do? Does she tell her best friend from childhood who's a cop she knows to be straight? Oh no, she first hides it under her bed and then puts it into a safe deposit box. Her behaviour is erratic, stupid and not at all in line with the background the author has given her.

Then we have this over-the-top bad cop who cannot be described as anything but a caricature. He is so badly drawn, he's laughable. The usual bits of interaction with his ex-wife are silly and almost taken from other stories as an attribute: bad cop must have shrewish ex-wife. His part of the story feels unfinished, he's thrown at the reader and suddenly removed without much rhyme or reason.

Dan Duffy's accident, which sets the whole thing off, is more than ridiculous and does not fit in with the way his character is described - focussed and intent on proving his father did not commit suicide and finding and facing his father's killer. Next, he is clowning around on the back of a truck. Back of a truck? With a suitcase full of money? Did I already mention how silly the entire story is...?

Then, there is the completely useless silly bit about the psychic and the crystal necklace - a strand of plot that is going nowhere. The psychic tells Lilah to find a diary - the necklace which is even mentioned in the summary on Amazon has no bearing on the story and its only possible purpose is to capture potential readers that are interested in paranormal romances.

Finally, we have the writing style: the author jumps from first-person narrator to third person in a completely random way. I've rarely come across such incredibly sloppy, bad writing. Next, the author has a considerable problem getting the tense correct in indirect speech. Punctuation is abysmal. The author seems to think that you can place a comma at random where you fancy. Actually, Ms Semerad , there are very definite rules you might want to look into. Example: "Yet, he was nervous, talking to himself..." There should most certainly not be a comma after `yet'.

All in all, this was one of the sorriest excuses for a book I've come across.