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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stalked by Brian Freeman

Freeman hit his stride (LOL! No pun intended!) in book 2: Stripped, and somehow managed to trip in book 3: Stalked

From - Lieutenant Jonathan Stride knows his partner Maggie Bei is in trouble when she reports a deadly crime on a bitter winter night. She’s obviously hiding a terrible secret. And her silence only feeds suspicion. But Maggie isn’t the only one keeping secrets. A seductive young woman has disappeared, leaving behind a stash of lurid fantasies and a cryptic message. I know who it is. Now it’s up to Stride and his lover, homicide cop turned private investigator Serena Dial, to uncover a sordid web of violence and voyeurism that someone is willing to kill to keep hidden. Meanwhile, a predator with a vicious past is hunting them both—with a terrifying plan for revenge on the frozen lakes of Duluth...

My issues.  These are items that pulled me out of the book - a phrase, a comment, whatever.  I don't like to be pulled out of the plot, it makes me cranky and less likely to want to continue.

Dude. Don't be throwing crap in my lake.  Not cool.  Not when Stride threw his cigarettes in the Canal in book one it was not cool, and it's not cool now with a glass wine bottle. 

It could be debateable if the Duluth Courthouse and Federal buildings are tan or grey I've checked.  Several times.  Seem grey to me.  I'm pretty certain the author called them tan in the book.  Could be wrong.  Hard to go back and check on an audiobook.  Nitpicking, I know, but I live here...

Really, a bugged house again?  Did that in book two.

I'm just guessing here, that a battery operated transmitter, placed outside a house in 0* weather, is not going to give you two miles of frequency in those temps. You will be lucky if it operates for a couple-three hours before it freezes up and stops working.  Just guessing...because my handheld field grade GPS system doesn't last in temps like that. 

If Stride and Maggie didn't want to be seen meeting together in Duluth, why not meet in Cloquet? Or Two Harbors? Central High School is not exactly a private meeting place....

The female protagonist - Serena - is at one point handcuffed and running for her life. She runs through the deep snow, down and embankment, through some brush and into a railyard.  Where she is caught - we are lead to believe - unconscious.  Later we find out that the antagonist somehow carried her back across the snowy railyard, through the brush, down and up the embankment, across another snowy expanse, to the waiting car.  Carrying a unconscious person that far is...difficult, at best, during non-snow conditions.  Through the snow?  Implausible. 

Why the fascination with rape?  This applies to other authors too, that it seems to be "cool" to place a strong female protagonist in a position of utter helplessness and vulnerability.  It is demeaning to women.  You don't see male protagonists being raped, so why do it to women?  

Ah. A blizzard in Northern MN on a lake.  You are not going to be doing donuts in your vehicleles.  You will not be sliding around like a zamboni.  Depending upon how much snow was already on the ground (and I think this was set in February-ish?), the lake is probably not going to be ice-skating rink clean.  You will not be driving willy-nilly across it.  There will be a plowed road to the ice village.  Maybe two depending on how many lake access's there are.  But to just bounce off and go driving across?  Not. Gonna. Happen. 

And I have my doubts about how fast a burning ice shack will melt into the ice.... I have my doubts about the whole burning ice shack scene.

Lastly, I totally get the giggles when a character in the book mutters, yells, shouts, "You Bastard!".  It's a South Park thing...

I'm sure my fellow travelers on a drive back from Menominee, WI, were wondering why I was pounding my fists on my steering wheel.  It could have been because of the lake in the blizzard scene.  It could have been because of the burning ice shack scene.  It could have been because of - again - endings upon endings upon endings.  Yes, I was shouting at the story.  You can do that when it's an audiobook.

Needless to say, I had a few issues with this book.  Too much introspection and exposition by the characters, the 'chase and rescue' scene just went on forever (see note about beating fists against steering wheel), and way too many items yanked me out of the plot.  I don't feel I can really expound on more without giving too many clues away, and I would prefer you to form your own opinion - if you decide to read it.  

Recommendation - ahh, a maybe.  If you've read the first two and still like Stride and Serena.   

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