Monday, January 20, 2014

REVIEW: Sleeping Crimes

Sleeping Crimes
By: Joyce Slobogian

Genre: Mystery, Women Sleuths
Publication date: 3.31.2012
Pages: 220

Date read: 1.20.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary:  When Eric Delaney returns to Brandon after ten years away, he creates quite a stir in town. Eric had always been a snoop. After leaving Brandon he has turned his snooping talents into a successful career by writing books about the secret lives of the rich and famous. Now the plans a new book about secrets in his home town. Several people in the city have reason to worry about Eric’s homecoming.

Connie Anderson had been romantically involved with Eric when they both attended Brandon University. After he left without a word to her, she was angry and disappointed. Now, ten years later, Connie co-owns a mystery book store in Brandon. Recently, she has helped solving a real life mystery – finding the young daughter of a good friend, who had been abducted. She met and fell in love with Alan Bowering, a police officer involved in the search for the missing girl. Life is now good for Connie, and she has almost forgotten about Eric. His return brings back all the memories.

Rick Smithers is a professor at Brandon University, a weak character who had in the past been all too fond of his young female students. Eric had found out about it and had blackmailed him.

Rita Fleming is a popular teacher and a candidate for City Council. Her chances to win the election are excellent. But there is a secret in her life, and Eric Delaney knows something about it. His return to Brandon is a worry to Rita.

Frakes Construction is a well-known and successful company and Graham and Nancy Frakes are among the most prominent people in town. But they have something to hide. When Eric arrives in town, Graham Frakes becomes uneasy, since Delaney hinted in an interview about “plenty of hidden dirt in any town.”

When Eric is found beaten to death in his hotel room, the police find reasons to suspect a number of people, who seem to have motive and opportunity to have committed the crime.

Connie does some snooping around on her own, and provides the police with a number of hints. Then a second murder is committed and the investigation becomes more intense. The city is in an uproar over the murders and the tension escalates.

With one suspect dead, the police concentrates on the others. Connie puts her life on the line by continuing to investigate. Alan rescues her just in time, and she is able to point the finger at the murderer, who is then arrested.

At Christmas time, the killer is awaiting trial. The people involved in the case have made changes in their lives in the meantime. Connie plans to spend time over the Holidays at her family’s farm. She is surprised and pleased that Alan is coming along to meet her family. Their relationship has reached an important phase.

My thoughts

I am a HUGE fan of mysteries - any night if you ask me what I'm watching, most likely it's some sort of British mystery (they are my favorite); Agatha Christie is one of my all time favorite authors (Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Tommy & Tuppence ... I just can't get enough); I have seen (and read) every Sherlock Holmes story there is; and I have a huge selection of mysteries on my Kindle (and on my bookshelves).  Mysteries were some of the first real books that I got into when I was young, after LotR at 10 years old and cookbooks, that is.  There is just something about this genre that really gets my blood pumping and my brain working.  I love trying to find out if I can figure out who did it before they do (and Hercule stumps me EVERY time).

This, as a mystery, isn't half bad.  It starts off with a little story that tells you how some of the characters from the past are connected, then pops ahead to ten years later when one of those characters, Eric Delaney, a now famous author of books that tell people's secrets, comes back to town to tell the secrets he knows.  He makes it very clear to people that he knows a secret and plans it to be the topic of his next book.

Sounds interesting, huh?

Even though it reminds me of an episode of Murder, She Wrote I've seen a couple of times, I was pulled right in. 

As the story goes on, one of the people from ten years before (Connie) is now two years into a relationship with a police officer, one of the police officers on the case, but it is quickly proven that she couldn't have possibly done it.  And with her help, the police work the case to discover what happened ten years ago and who murdered Eric.

So, you're wondering why I gave it a 3, huh?  I am too.  Because in my head I'm thinking that it deserves more like a 2.

Now I'm sure you're wondering, 'But why, Meghan, if you liked it?'

Because of one KEY point that drove me absolutely crazy.

At about 50% into the book (more like 47%, but who's counting?), Connie finds a piece of evidence.  WHERE?  In a place it couldn't possibly have been.  I know what you're asking - but how do I know that for sure.  Because they spent quite a bit of time on the evidence and, according to the story, it just wasn't there.  Continuity, especially in a mystery, is key.  How can I believe anything else in the story if I can't even believe the evidence?

I actually almost quit there.  But ... I'm one of those people that can't stop a book once I'm into it.  And, to be honest, I wanted to know who the murderer was. 

But all I could keep thinking about was the evidence that couldn't have been there.

I also want to note as a side thing, which really has nothing to do with the novel and the review, but I have a serious issue with the description of this book and am actually quite glad that I didn't read it beforehand.  What is the point of telling me almost the WHOLE story in the description?  I don't know about other people, but if I had read this particular description, I never would have read the novel.    It gives away too much, in my opinion, for me to fully enjoy the story - I would have been anxiously waiting for each thing to occur.  Shame on you, Book Description, shame on you.

(As I say with all reviews where I have a major issue, if the author would like to contact me to discuss this further, she is more than welcome to do so.) 

Apparently the author did not like my review.  I did offer to discuss my issues with her if she contacted me, as you can see above, and had high hopes when I received an email from her.  Instead, what I received was not words that, in my opinion, can open up a line of communication:

"Thank you for reading and reviewing Sleeping Crimes and posting it on Amazon. I am aware of the mistake that snuck into the book and was missed by me and another person editing the book. I have to admit it is a big mistake and should not have happened. Still, you could have mentioned it without writing quite such a long destructive document. It sounds more like a letter to yourself than a factual review."

Does anyone else see problems with this?


C.E. Martin said...

The point of reviews is to give feedback and to let other readers know what the book is like. Offering to discuss your review is incredible and the author shouldn't be such a baby about getting a review, good or bad.

Meghan H said...

I agree. And thank you for that. If I had lied and said the book was wonderful, that would have hindered her. And when you write a mystery and have a problem with your major piece of evidence, you might want to fix that and fix that fast instead of being upset with the reader/reviewer that pointed out. (Plus, I like the way I review books and I don't plan on changing it.)

I am happy to say that I've done over 90 r2rs since June 2013 and this is the first author to have a problem with my reviews. (I did have one, however, that told me I didn't like the ending because I'm a non-Christian. Once I was done laughing and informed him that not only am I Catholic, but the reason wasn't religion, but that the religion came out of nowhere, he ended up listening and changed the end of his book for the better.)

So this is 3 authors (two now of books I've reviewed and one just an author who was upset I gave a book a 3) since I began reviewing in September 2012 (they were both on Amazon). I think that's not half bad actually :)