Sunday, November 17, 2013

Love Game by Elise Sax

Image linked from Goodreads
I thoroughly enjoyed the first and second books in this series (four and five milers respectively), so when I got confirmation from NetGalley that I could review this book, I did a little shimmy in my seat. Literally. What? Books make me happy.
Unfortunately, the shimmy was a bit premature.
This book, like the other two, is a cross between chick-lit and a cozy. Gladie Burger is still living with her grandmother, learning how to be a matchmaker. She's still stumbling across dead bodies and mysteries with a few tweaks. One such being that there's a new matchmaker on the scenes, one who is stealing her grandmother's clients and also blocking her energy. Another is the new man on the police force, Remington Cumberbatch. A hottie UFC fighter who is incredibly attracted to Gladie. In the other two books, I enjoyed the frenetic pacing that kept the books moving. "Love Game," however, has the dial turned up to 11. Make that 15. The action really starts with Gladie's friend Lucy crashing into Ruth's tea shop (if you've read the other two books, you already know these characters) while taking Gladie to Uncle Harry's. But they can't stop so they just head on their way where Gladie learns that Harry has been "matched" by the spurious matchmaker (and Lucy's hella jealous)and Lucy's car goes over a cliff with Gladie's keys inside. And that's just the beginning. I'm going to hide the rest as spoilers, but believe me, there is WAY to much packed into 186 pages of novel. If there had been some time and care taken in expanding on some of these, it would have been a much more enjoyable book. Instead, it felt like we just hippity-hopped from plot point to plot point with no threads woven in between. Will I read the next book? I honestly don't know. The first two were so darn wonderful but this one...
There's a new cupcake shop with some suspicious characters, Bridget's number accidentally being published as a sex line (which she takes as a chance to teach some of the callers why what they're doing is wrong), the point at which Gladie and something like 10 other people are locked into two panic rooms, a bear in a car (literally. Now, I live in a place where this happens at least once every other year, so I can appreciate the scenario. But it's given about four paragraphs until the fight), a UFC fight where Spencer (one of Gladie's erstwhile love interests and the chief of police) fights his newest colleague. Two other quibbles. You can't split something between three people fifty-fifty (p. 124) and what the killers did when they pretended to be trapped in the other room wasn't gaslighting (p. 173) like Bridget says. Gaslighting involves a long con where you make someone believe they're crazy. Yes, I understand that a particular character might misuse the term but Bridget hasn't been set up to be that character and Sax equates it to smoke and mirrors. Big deal? Maybe not. But as a mystery writer, Sax should know the concept since it's pretty ubiquitous in the genre or at least her editor should have caught it.

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