This author’s debut novel, Into the Darkest Corner, left me breathless. It was the epitome of psychological suspense. I couldn’t put it down. Haynes had made my ‘must read everything this author has ever written’ list before I even finished the book. Just so you know, it’s a short list.
Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon another book written by Elizabeth Haynes at my local used bookstore. I usually consider myself lucky if I can find one of the authors on the crumpled ‘to read’ list I keep in my wallet. To find the author I want the most? Well, that’s my lucky day!
I left the store with the book in my hand and a smile on my face. Hmmm. At this point, you’ve probably noticed that I’m three paragraphs into a review and I still haven’t mentioned the book I’m reviewing. Double Hmmm.
Disclaimer. I know that writing a book isn’t the easiest thing to do. A lot of time and dedication goes into committing tens of thousands of words on to paper. I also believe in supporting authors. If the book is well written, if the plot is solid, if I enjoyed the book or can think of a valid excuse (I’m moody) of why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped and why you might enjoy it more, I give it 5 stars. If a book is generally good but has some issues, maybe the pacing is off or the writing style detracts from the story, I give it 4 stars. If the author has seriously pissed me off, as in, they have talent and imagination but I just spent hours of my life reading something that wasn’t their best effort (to put it politely), I give it 3 stars. I don’t review books I can’t give at least 3 stars.
Now that that’s said, here’s my review. This book is about a woman who had worked as a stripper. It’s mentioned on the back page blurb, and since I really enjoyed the other book I read by this author, it wouldn’t have affected my decision to read the book (had I read the blurb before buying). However, when a stripper character muses about how empowering it is to be a stripper, how it’s a victory for women’s lib, and then that character is weak, stupid, vapid, generally unlikable, and only concerned with men and being desirable, well, that’s not a victory for anyone.
The book was well written, I’ll give Haynes that, but the plot? The only suspense or mystery I experienced was wondering when Haynes was going to wow me. I’m still waiting. This book left me so underwhelmed that I’m seriously wondering if maybe I was wrong about the other book I read by her. Maybe there was an uncapped Sharpie nearby when I was reading? Or the mushrooms on the pizza were ‘special’. This book had potential, but it seemed to be more a venue for the author to explore her personal fantasies than to woo her readers with suspense and intrigue. I’m not sure I’ll be giving any of her other books a chance. 3 stars.