Original Books

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Never Let You Go by Erin Healey

Lexi Solomon's life has been spinning out of control ever since her sister was murdered in public by Lexi's lover and Lexi's drug-addict husband ran away from her and their daughter. Now one of her husband's "associates" has begun following her around, using her daughter's life as blackmail to make her pay a debt she never owed. On top of this, her sister's murderer is about be let out on parole. Lexi loses it when her daughter is finally kidnapped. Since her father has been living in a mental health institution for some time now, Lexi wonders if she has inherited the disease her father has. When her prodigal husband returns to help her find their daughter, Lexi begins to realize he is one of the only people on earth she can trust. The question is, will she trust his promise that he will never again let her go?

The release of Burn made me think that Erin Healey truly is an elite author, even in light of Kiss. Yet Never Let You Go only confused me more. In the two novels she co-authored with Ted Dekker, it is hard to know where one of them ends and the other begins, because Never Let You Go is a slight return to the average nature of Kiss, making me wonder if Ted Dekker helped Erin out in Burn to make his fans anticipate Never Let You Go more than they were. All I know is, Erin Healey has not yet arrived.

The characters of this book are reminiscent of Ted Dekker characters: all of them are imperfect, yet not one of them has a complete personality. But what can one expect of the woman who edited Ted Dekker for many years. She obviously does not have any higher standards than this for characters. The surprising part is that Lexi is not played as a perfect victim. This is one of the rare books I have read that does not contain a single perfect character. This definitely keeps the book from being as bad as Kiss, yet Erin needs to learn how to develop personalities.

However, if she does not want to develop personalities, she at least needs to do what Ted Dekker does with his plots-make them so good that the book is either Elite or five stars despite under-developed characters. Unfortunately, Erin did not do this in her solo novel. The foundational idea behind the plot is good, but the delivery is inconsistent. The book is longer than it needs to be, a problem that can be attributed to many unexplained scenes designed only to create suspense and drama. Such scenes are unnecessary and only serve to muddle the book. Lexi's daughter seems to be invincible, since she sustains several near death experiences with minor injuries. Another main problem is a cheesy showdown scene in which the villain explodes. Basically, the biggest mistakes Erin makes in this book is trying to add too many supernatural and suspenseful elements to the plot, trying to copy Ted Dekker. She fails to capture the philosophical writing style that make his books interesting, making herself look like a copycat.

All in all, Erin Healey has potential if she will do her own thing and cease living in the shadow of Dekker. If she will boost her characters or improve her delivery, she can be an elite author.

3 stars

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