I like checking the new book section at the library because I don’t have to try to remember if I’ve read the book before. I know I haven’t. What makes it even easier is if the book is by an author I’m familiar with. But that doesn’t mean the book is worth reading.
The last time I was at the library, I picked up the latest book by a writing duo who sometimes have some clever ideas or convoluted plots. This book wasn’t one of them. Well, it was convoluted — so convoluted it made absolutely no sense. It turned out to be a sort of series within a series. Generally, in mystery series, it doesn’t matter a whole lot what order you read the books. Sure, sometimes the character has a five-year old kid, sometimes they are pregnant with that child. Sometimes they are married or divorced or engaged to the same person. But once you get beyond the out-of-sync life of the protagonist, the stories themselves are stand-alone.
I figured this book would be the same, but no. As I got into it, I realized it was a sequel to a previous book — in essence, I was starting in the middle of the story. Even worse, there were four separate plot lines — none of which seemed to have anything to do with any of the others. I slogged through almost half the book, hoping that at least one of the sub-stories would catch my interest, but none of them did. In fact, I couldn’t even figure out which was the main story and which were the substories.
In frustration, I skipped to the back of the book, hoping to catch a glimpse of what was going on, and though I read a chapter or two toward the end, it didn’t seem as if there was a conclusion. And there wasn’t. At the end of the last chapter I found the dreaded words, “To be continued.”
What??? You mean I struggled through 416 pages (well, okay, 200 of those 416 pages, but still . . .) only to be met with: “The authors apologize for what is, at least in part, an inconclusive ending.” In part? No, was completely inconclusive, nothing was resolved in any of the plots. Then the authors added that everything will be resolved in “a concluding novel which we are writing as fast as possible.”
Talk about a total cheat! I don’t mind series (or even series within series) where there is an unresolved mystery that ties all the books together, such as in Iris Johansen’s Eve Duncan series where Eve is always trying to find out what happened to her kidnapped daughter, but at least the main story in each of those books is resolved. To have not a single one of those four plots in the book in question resolved is . . . well, it’s a cheat.
There is a chance when the conclusion to the story comes out that I might read it. Or not. It depends on how much I feel like trying to figure out what clues I might have missed by not reading the previous books. Besides, the whole premise of the time-traveling portion of the book seems rather silly and too forced.
Luckily, there are other books in the library, both in the new book section and in the stacks so I don’t have to torment myself with books of this ilk.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.