Thursday, June 20, 2013

Phoenix by Kimberly Packard ***

Amanda Martin is one of three indicted by the SEC in a financial fraud case. Though she is a minor player, she runs and ends up in Phoenix Texas as Mandy Jackson. Here she is stalked by a couple of extremely creepy men ... the kind that trap you and demand consensual sex --- certainly one of the top-ten creepy oxymorons of all time. She also investigates a 10-year-old murder that might have been committed by one of these creeps, or maybe someone else.

Thus, Phoenix by Kimberly Packard starts slow (think: SEC investigation), but picks up a blistering pace as Amanda/Mandy closes in the the murderer, and the creeps close in on her. By the end, I put my life on hold wanting to see how it ended.

Unfortunately, for me, the story ends in medias res. I was locked to the book eager for resolution not only for Mandy/Amanda, but also for many of the minor characters. I was invested. I was desperate. I would have been happy even for a one-year-later coda for a resolution. The story just stopped. This didn't work for me. I award the book, the "Lady or Tiger" Award in honor of the 1882 story that I blame for all such resolution-less tales ... some of which are critically acclaimed, but just not by me.

This is a very well-written narrative, though when the action was slow I found myself bounced out of the story by some flowery writing, such as
... his waistband cut into his stomach as Roland's words sliced through his hope.
The word hung over the table, like one of his clouds of smoke. Alex knew those words were as cancerous as the second-hand smoke ...
Note to my feminist readers: Mandy/Amanda is not a "strong female protagonist." This is another attribute that works for a great number of readers, but not for me.

I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads First Read giveaway on June 1, 2013. I received the book On June 11, 2013.

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