Tag Archives: unlikeable characters

Ragdoll, by Daniel Cole

30 Jun

31673769Format: e-ARC, 378 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 28 February, 2017

ISBN: 9781409168751

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

Back cover blurb: A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.
Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.
The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.
With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

My review: I was reminded a lot of the Luther TV series while reading this. Will Fawkes, aka Wolf, is the kind of detective who takes crimes personally, isn’t above bending the rules to get his man, and who often finds himself embroiled with his witnesses and colleagues. The case was gory and intriguing, full of sudden twists, and based on the blurb, I should have enjoyed this more than I did. But the fact was I didn’t get much sense of Wolf until very late in the story. I wasn’t invested in him, or even any of his colleagues. Only Edmunds seemed to stand out, and it doesn’t look like he will be staying on for the second book. I can see how Cole wrote this initially as a screenplay, but feel like the characterization would have been all down to the actors cast. I doubt I’ll be reading the sequel.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3.5/5

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The Restaurant Critic’s Wife, by Elizabeth LaBan

22 May

26065581Format: e-ARC, 316 pages

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: January 5, 2016

ISBN: 9781477817766

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: Lila Soto has a master’s degree that’s gathering dust, a work-obsessed husband, two kids, and lots of questions about how exactly she ended up here.

In their new city of Philadelphia, Lila’s husband, Sam, takes his job as a restaurant critic a little too seriously. To protect his professional credibility, he’s determined to remain anonymous. Soon his preoccupation with anonymity takes over their lives as he tries to limit the family’s contact with anyone who might have ties to the foodie world. Meanwhile, Lila craves adult conversation and some relief from the constraints of her homemaker role. With her patience wearing thin, she begins to question everything: her decision to get pregnant again, her break from her career, her marriage—even if leaving her ex-boyfriend was the right thing to do. As Sam becomes more and more fixated on keeping his identity secret, Lila begins to wonder if her own identity has completely disappeared—and what it will take to get it back.

My review: This is a very hard book to rate. I enjoyed the writing style – and absolutely love the cover – but the characters were very unlikeable, especially the husband. Sam was just odious, dictating that his wife couldn’t have a life, couldn’t make friends without checking if they owned a restaurant first, couldn’t even leave the house when she was going stir-crazy at home with a toddler and newborn. Lila wasn’t much better, though, biting her tongue instead of speaking up, and making some pretty irresponsible choices regarding friends and her secret job. Hazel, the three-year-old, was very obnoxious – but dare I say realistic? – as well. I found I had to keep reading to see if the whole family imploded.

It worried me that Elizabeth LaBan’s real husband was like Sam, so was glad to read in the acknowledgements that he is not. I would pity her greatly if he was, but I suspect there is a ring of truth about some of what she wrote, given the consequences some restaurants suffer from a bad review.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3.5/5

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