Monday, September 3, 2012

The Mirror in The River by Dale Lovin-The Reflection is Cloudy at Best

Title: The Mirror in the River
The Mirror in the RiverAuthor: Dale Lovin 
Publisher:  Sunstone Press
Published: November 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 260
Source:  Won in a Goodreads Giveaway
Read: August 27-28 2012
In A Few Words:  Not quite suspenseful enough
My Rating: 2 stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
When a wealthy woman mysteriously disappears near Aspen, Colorado, former FBI Agent Brad Walker finds that his love of fly-fishing in remote mountain areas has planted him directly in the crosshairs of corrupt politicians and a kingpin in the world of human trafficking.
Melissa's Musings:

The premise behind this story seemed like it would be really interesting. Unfortunately, this story fell flat and did not catch me well at all. 

The dialogue in this book is very stiff. It tries really hard to be relaxed, and not forced, but it doesn't work. There's a lot of banter between the various male characters in the story but some of the phrases are just odd and feel out of place. One in particular is "My aching ass" It's used a couple of times, and I think that it could have been more powerful as a different phrasing, simply "My ass" would have worked better.

Plus there were a lot of instances of two different characters repeating the same line, one right after the other. In some cases this can work well but here it got to be old quickly. Exclamation points were also sorely overused in this story.

In addition, there were also a lot of uses of silence in the book, which made it feel like really awkward pauses in a conversation would, and it pulled me right out of the story. For what's supposed to be a suspense novel, I don't think there should have been so much silence.

Even though the dialogue is stiff, the scenery and imagery in the book is really nice. There are a lot of descriptions of nature, and the weather, and it's easy to imagine these scenes, because the main character Brad, is so connected to them. He's always wanting to be out in nature, for him it's a bittersweet environment because he spent a lot of time outdoors with his deceased wife, but at the same time as it pains him to be in it sometimes it replenishes and cleanses him with it's beauty.

The major reason the book fell flat is that to me this just feels like a recap of the author's own experiences as an FBI agent. The terminology he uses is too specific, and feels like things only an agent should or would know about. Plus, the story is too neatly wrapped  because Brad just happens to know each and every law enforcement officer that he needs to contact. There wasn't really any work involved. I didn't ever wonder if they were going to take him seriously or help him, because it's obvious that being old friends, they would.  I didn't really feel for the characters all that much because of this. 

One other thing that didn't work for me were the constant music references. Sometimes, pop culture references work very well, and are perfect for the story or the characters. Here, they just felt like shameless plugs for artists that the author really liked. I got this feeling mainly because it was 2 or three artists and songs that were mentioned numerous times. 

There is a very unique element to this book and that has to be the picture of Brad's wife and the way it is used in the story. He looks at it every day, and it is his favorite picture. When this all begins, he notices that his wife's eyes in the picture change, as though they are communicating with him based on what is going on with the main events in the story. It's a little far-fetched, and it is never mentioned to anyone else in the book, but I thought it was an interesting touch. It's a very unique element.

Overall, this book just didn't work well for me. The suspense wasn't there, because everything was just wrapped up too neatly. There weren't enough near misses, and you just knew that everything would fall exactly in to place no problem. The Mirror in the River didn't reflect well for me. 

Although I didn't care for this book, you may enjoy it.

Has anyone read this? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

*Please note I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

4 comments:

Wall-to-wall books said...

Hmm you're right, this book did sound like it would have been good. I am sorry that is didn't quite make it for you.

emaginette said...

Well, I'll pass too. I already have too many books to read. :-)

Melissa said...

@Wall-to-wall Books:
Thanks. :)

@emaginette:
Isn't that always the problem? So many books to read, never enough time to read them all. :)

kimbacaffeinate said...

Aww, sorry this one didn't work for you, it did sound promising.