"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Dame Agatha Christie

Friday, January 20, 2012

One O'clock Jump by Lise McClendon - finished 1/17/2012. EB, HM. 3 stars

I really wanted to like this book.  I love the time frame (WWII), I love Kansas City, I love historical mystery, I love swing music, I love (most) cozy mysteries...but this book just cannot rate over 3 stars with me.

So, the question is--what did I not like?  Why only 3 stars (and that's generous)?  Maybe too many secondary characters that really contribute nothing to the plot but take up space.  Now, this is the first of a series, so who knows--could they take a bigger role in later books?  Perhaps, but why not introduce them at that time instead of having them walk in and out of scenes for no apparent reason?

I understand red herrings, and I think I "get" the reason to have characters interact enough to get a sense of the good guys versus the bad guys, but some scenes seemed unnecessary for the book--I don't want to post spoilers, but some of Dorie's "dates" felt like filler to me--like when we would write a lot of description (in big, loopy handwriting) in school to pad our word count or page count.

Don't get me wrong--this is not a bad book.  The main characters are somewhat interesting, although they each seem to suffer from a neurosis of one kind or another.  It seems all have something troubling in their past or something they wish to hide.  I was caught up enough in the mystery that I wanted to finish it to see "whodunit".  I may read the second Dorie Lennox, Sweet and Lowdown,  to see if the series improves, but I don't have the overwhelming desire to jump straight from one to the other like I do with other series.  And I'm quite glad it was a Kindle read because I certainly would not want it on my keeper shelf.

I did actually learn a lot from reading this book.  I learned my novel-in-progress has too many extraneous characters who take up space but don't help advance the plot...and that inserting either factual history or back story needs to be done very carefully to prevent the "big, loopy handwriting" syndrome.

1 comment:

  1. Very well written review and even though it's a 3 star in your view, you did learn something from it, so it wasn't a waste of time.