Monday, March 15, 2010

Pre-Friday Book Review: Going, Gone

Going, Gone by Laura Crum
I've been checking the mailbox hoping to spot an envelope from the publisher since sometime in February. It arrived - on a Monday, of course - and I then had to wait the rest of the week to get home so I could read it.

Doubly nifty, it was free! I didn't have to wait and try to track down a copy at Barnes and Noble or Amazon or via interlibrary loan. (Thanks to Mrs. Mom for the head's up!)

In order not to be biased, I've been purposefully skipping other bloggers' reviews, so when I cracked the book this weekend I was flying blind with only Gail McCarthy's previous adventures as a yardstick.

In a nutshell, Gail's family horse-camping trip runs headlong into a murder investigation. Her ex-boyfriend Lonny Peterson is the prime suspect in the death of his new girlfriend. Gail's childhood friend Bret Boncantini, now a local deputy, provides some helpful, hands-off, police advice, but fears for his job if he provides any overt assistance. If Gail doesn't help, Lonny may just find himself on the wrong side of a set of bars for a very long time.

As I said, I was really looking forward to reading the latest in Gail McCarthy's continuing adventures. Previous books have provided informative, suspenseful, and entertaining peeks into the horse industry through the eyes of an equine practitioner.

Well, everyone's entitled to an off book occasionally, and unfortunately, this one limps rather heavily when it comes to carrying through on the blurb's promised excitement. Going, Gone just doesn't stack up to the preceding volumes.

Maudlin, introspective, and jerky by turns, it trails from a stilted beginning through to an abrupt ending that reads a bit like a replay from an earlier book. This installment lacks the realistic grounding in medicine, animals and characters that I've come to expect. Or perhaps it has too much grounding in reality? There are gaps. Characters just aren't fully fleshed out, and too many of them aren't likable. Too many suspects and the ending is jarringly abrupt.

A bit more in the way of story would have gone a long way toward filling in some of what's lacking. This is definitely NOT the place to start reading this series.

Positives? The critters, as always, are genuine, lovingly portrayed and presented. The riding vignettes, likewise. Gail's relationship with Blue and her son's reaction to all the death are realistic and convincing. Really, as a series of reminiscences, I'd have liked it better. Stringing a murder in there... not so much.

I really wanted to love it. I've been promising to pass it along to my mom and sister (both of whom I've recommended Crum's books to on multiple occasions), but I don't know if I'll do so. I missed Chasing Cans, and on the off chance that it's just the gap in timeline that's causing some of the disconnect I'm going to track it and Moonblind down and compare.

And now I can go read everyone else's opinions and gain a different perspective - LOL!

No comments: