Skip to main content

Review of "Black Friday" by Alex Kava

I have been reading Alex Kava novels since 2003, and never before have I been disappointed. This book at just under 300 pages feels like almost 500. It is slow moving, and relies on conspiracy theories (and the fact that the reader knows these theories) to move the plot along. In this book, Special Agent Maggie O’Dell, a profiler for the FBI, is called in by the Interim Director to investigate a series of explosions inside the Mall of America on Black Friday (according to the book this was Nov. 23, but unless it takes place in 2007 that is not possible since 11/23/09 was a Monday).

My first major problem came after Maggie received the phone call. Instead of immediately getting ready, she and her friends gather around her television to watch Fox News to see what is being reported. This makes little sense to me. It seems that if Kava wanted to create a sense of urgency, she would not have had her main character standing around talking to her friends about the Interim Director’s reasons for bringing her in on the case. My next problem is that it seems that in order for Nick to be present in several of Maggie’s investigations, he needs to change jobs left and right: Sheriff, lawyer, and now security consultant? This is starting to get ridiculous. Another problem was the lack of her circle of ancillary characters, which were only present at the beginning and end of the book. Yet another problem was the fact that unbeknowst to Maggie her half brother (referred to as her step-brother, although they have the same father) was tangentially involved in the bombing. It took more than half of the book for her to find that he was there, despite the fact she saw someone who looked like her father in the lobby of the hotel the investigation is headquarted at.

My biggest problem, however, is Kava’s use of the Oklahoma City Bombing to further the plot. Technically, this is not a spoiler, but the antagonist is allegedly John Doe #2, the man believed to have helped McVeigh and Nichols plan and execute the attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. This wasn’t the only national tragedy that she used either. She also mentions Columbine, Virginia Tech, 9/11, and the mass killings at a Nebraska mall a few years ago. These seemed to be present for shock value, and did little to help the plot along.
Further, there was almost no character growth in this novel. Maggie is still untrusting, especially of Nick, who doesn’t trust her either. Patrick doesn’t know or trust Maggie, going so far as to “think over” whether he wanted her help with his situation. This was so implausible to me. If you are a suspect in a terrorist bombing and your sister is part of the investigative team, wouldn’t you run to her for help? No matter how little you know each other, there is no reason not to accept help when it is offered. In the end, he is the only one that seems to have grown.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fifteen Years Later: Review of "His Sinful Touch" by Candace Camp

Title: His Sinful Touch
Author: Candace Camp
ISBN: 0373789963
Publisher: HQN
Series: Mad Morelands #5
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $5.99 (e-book) $19.96(Audible)
Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2


Most readers remember their first, the first book of their particular genre that they read, whether they enjoyed the book or not.  I have two firsts--the first romance I ever read was a Harlequin Intrigue written by Amanda Stevens.  If you've read my blog before you probably already know this.  The first historical romance I read was Mesmerized by Candace Camp, which was also the first book in her Mad Morelands series.  

I was a senior in high school when this series began and I remember seeing the paperback version of Mesmerized on the shelf at the Target on Queens Blvd (yes, I spent a lot of time on Queens Blvd as a teenager), and was pulled in by the gorgeous cover.  Apparently, that book has had several covers over the last 15 years, but this is the one I remember:


Isn't it pretty?  Of course from the cover I…

Review of "New York, Actually" by Sarah Morgan

Title: New York, Actually
Author: Sarah Morgan
ISBN: 0373804105
Publisher: HQN Books
Series: From Manhattan with Love #4
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $5.99 (e-book) $19.96 (Audible)
Rating: 🐶🐶🐶🐶1/2


If you follow me on social media, you'll have seen my posts about this book over the last week.  For the most part, they weren't very positive -- until about 20% into the book, I hated the hero.  If I could have set him on fire, I probably would have.  It was only Ms. Morgan's prose and the fact that I had been looking forward to this book for 6 months that kept me reading.  For once, I am glad I was so wrong about a character.

From the PublisherOne man. One woman. Two dogs.  Meet Molly—New York's most famous advice columnist, she considers herself an expert at relationships…as long as they're other people's. Still bruised from her last breakup, Molly is in no rush to find happily-ever-after—the only love of her life is her dalmatian, Valentine.  Meet Daniel—A cynical divorce …

Review of "A Stardance Summer" by Emily March

Title: A Stardance Summer
Author: Emily March
ISBN: 1250131685
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Series: Eternity Springs #13
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $7.99 (e-book) $17.13 (Audible)
Rating:No Stars


Disclaimer: I wrote this review as a part of a Blog Tour, but have since pulled out of it for obvious reasons.  I am not editing the content of the review, so any mentions of the Blog Tour remain.


****
I want to start this review by saying that this is not the type of book I usually read and had I known this, I would not have signed up for this Blog Tour.  While it does not appear as if this is being marketed as a "Christian Romance" that is exactly what this is.  As a New York-born, California-living Atheist with degrees from two liberal universities, I am not exactly the target demographic for this book (or for this author, for that matter).  Despite feeling duped by the marketing, I made the effort to read the entire thing.  Honestly, had I stopped at any point before reaching the end,…

Happy Bookaversary! A Review of "Edge of Darkness" by Karen Rose

Title: Edge of Darkness
Author: Karen Rose
ISBN: 9780399583087
Publisher: Berkeley
Series: Cincinnati Series
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $7.99 (e-book) $28.28(Audible)
Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


It seems like I've been reading Karen Rose novels my entire life.  I remember the day I came across Count to Ten in the Duane Reade on Queens Blvd.  I'd finished the paperback I brought with me to school that day while sitting in the Dining Hall eating lunch and needed something for the long bus ride home.  I almost didn't buy it because it was $9.99 and I hadn't gotten my financial aid money yet, but the cover copy called to me.  Not even the 500+ page count could scare me away.

I recently learned that Edge of Darkness is Ms. Rose's 20th book and in a strange way, I feel like a proud mama watching her child cross the stage to get their diploma.  I'm just a big ball of happy nostalgia, thinking back to all of the other books I've read by her and hopeful about the ones to come, so befor…

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year--Christmas in September

The day after Labor Day I woke up to an email from my contacts at St. Martin’s Press, inviting me to review six of their upcoming Christmas books, all of which have release dates in early October. For most people, this would probably be a problem — who wants to think about Christmas before Halloween — but for me, I’ve always had a soft spot for the man in the red suit. Even after I stopped believing in the Christ-Myth, I still loved that one holiday. To me, Christmas represents everything that Thanksgiving is supposed to be, but with better music and no obligatory turkey. Some of my favorite books have a Christmas theme and so I jumped at the chance to review those six books (well, five of them because the sixth has to do with cowboys and if there is one sub-genre I just cannot do is cowboys). I read the first two, With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins and Deck the Halls by Donna Alward, fairly quickly, especially since they’re both novellas. Both are being released in a little o…