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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Steal Away by Linda Hall

Teri Blake-Addison is a former police detective, and now she runs her own private detective business. When a pastor comes to her wanting her to find his missing wife, she immediately takes the job. Unfortunately, the case isn't as simple as it looks. They never are.

First, his wife has been missing for two years. Everyone has presumed that she is dead, except for Pastor Carl Houseman. He still believes Ellen is alive, even though he is already engaged to another woman.

The case leads Teri into a web of lies and deception (like any mystery would) that many people have had a part in. Ellen, if she is still alive, doesn't want to be found. Or is she really dead?

I have liked Linda Hall in the past, but this time, she just didn't live up to her full potential. Here's why:

First of all, the characters didn't seem real to me. They all seemed like mediocre players in the mystery, each one playing their part too well. Only a few characters weren't easy to figure out.

Second of all, the answer to the mystery isn't very mysterious at all. It isn't a mystery when people know what's going on. I had a very good idea of what was going on the whole time.

Third of all, despite the predictability of the outcome, there were still multiple original things Linda Hall could have done. I know she has done these types of original things in the past. Why stop now? This book has lots of potential, potential to even be five stars. But she didn't do it. She escaped down the easy, typical path.

Fourth of all, because she didn't do the realistic things with certain plot points, there are several small plot holes that have no explanation. The unnecessary villain is one of these. He's a very dumb character who is introduced and defeated in the same chapter.

I know Linda Hall can write good mysteries, but Steal Away isn't one of the better ones.

2.5 stars

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