Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jenn's Review: Deadly Charm

Summary: Deadly Charm is the third romance/mystery novel in the Amanda Bell Brown series. Favorite characters are back in this zany follow-up to Death, Deceit & Some Smooth Jazz and Murder, Mayhem & a Fine Man.

Amanda Bell Brown is a woman with many losses and gains: she's gained twelve pounds on her hips and lost her husband and best friend. Hope is on the horizon when her BFF Rocky returns with an offer she can't refuse: go with him to a revival meeting featuring former televangelist Ezekiel Thunder. Bell goes with Rocky, simply to help mend their friendship, and she finds herself surprised by love-baby love! Little Exeziel -Zeekie- Thunder steals her heart, even though Bell suspects his parents are fleecing the faithful.

When the seductively beautiful Mrs. Thunder makes a play for Amanda's man, Amanda is less than charmed. And when Baby Zeekie is found dead from an accidental drowning, Bell is sickened at the thought of someone murdering an innocent child - or that morning sickness that's plaguing her? Between babies and bodies, things are getting hectic for the forensic psychologist, as she pushes past the limits to discover the deadly truth.

Review: I intensely dislike starting in the middle of a series –especially when the author doesn't plant a lot of plot exposition to help out the new reader– but such is the case with this Library Thing Early Review book. Perhaps because of this, I had a hard time getting into this book, particularly the characters.

I didn't really like any of the characters in the beginning, and by the end, I'd at least warmed up to Bell. It's mentioned several times that this character is supposed to be a forensic psychologist, but she doesn't seem to work, ever. Her husband is a drunk and can't seem to respect the fact that she's her own person. Bell's antics are far from 'doing a little sleuthing' – she actually taunts sociopaths. All of this is against her doctors wishes, and I can't imagine any woman who has tried so hard to be pregnant recklessly jeopardizing her unborn children. It's actually a little mortifying. (I'd base my rating on that alone!)

There also isn't a lot of mystery to the plot. It's pretty cut and dried. Although I will say this for the book, having not so long ago finished a book that crammed religion down my throat, I really didn't mind that Bell was exceptionally religious. The opinions were hers and I could appreciate them for what they were, and they weren't used as a crutch at any time.

Perhaps it was just this book in the series, but I wasn't all that impressed. I'd try Claudia Mair Burney again, if it were a rainy day and I was pretty much through my TBR pile.

Final take 3.0/5

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