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Friday, July 16, 2010

Detours by Bette Nordberg

Callie O'Brian has found herself at a crossroads in her life when the tenant of her guest house, Celia Hernadez, dies in a mysterious traffic accident. Trying to own and work two businesses at once, Callie is not prepared to care for the young boy Celia left behind-even temporarily. An air of mystery surrounds Celia's past, one that Callie does not particularly want to delve into. Celia's son proves to be a handful at first, but once the two of them settle in, their lives are rocked once again when the boy's supposed uncle shows up in town wanting custody of the boy. He seems to know more about Celia's past than he's letting on, but Callie wants nothing to do with him. But someone is targeting the both of them, wanting something Celia had. Can they put aside their differences in order to save their own lives?

Once again, Better Nordberg writes a plot that intrigued me at the beginning and disgusted me at the end. Whatever originality this book started out with was lost by the time I turned the last page. In the end, there were only a few good things about this plot, making it a waste of my time.

One of the few good things about the plot is Callie's well-developed personality. Unfortunately, this brings to light the fact that she is the only character with a personality. Keeshan, Celia's son, is not a typical angelic kid character, which is refreshing enough. Marcus is an annoying character because he is a perfect male lead with a troubled past that isn't his fault. The villain is a typical villain. Otherwise, there aren't any other characters worth mentioning besides a typical old lady character. Bette has always struggled with characters, but this is her worst cast yet.

If it's any consolation, this custody case is not a typical custody case. One side of it is not an angel and the other side is not a monster. However, as a suspense plot, it is quite typical. The first half of the book is interesting as Callie and Keeshan clash with each other and their grief. Celia's past is interesting enough and could have been utilized better with a better surrounding plot. Things go south when Marcus comes to town and invites the cheesy villain upon them. The second half of the book is a lackadaisical waste of time as it beats around the bush on a very obvious subject just to fill time and come to a suspenseful end. The cheesy showdown with the villain at the end does not help matters. In the end, a cheesy romantic subplot fixes everything.

Bette Nordberg has consistently gotten worse as an author as her career has gone on. She has never returned to the glory of Serenity Bay because she has adapted typical plot structures ever since then. If she did not have any good ideas besides Serenity Bay, she needed to stop writing altogether after her debut novel. This may be the answer for her now.

2 stars

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