Friday, February 8, 2013

INDIE BOOK REVIEW: ‘Childs Abduction’ vacillates wildly between fun and unbelievable



I like strong heroines that are both no-nonsense and independent.

For half of ‘Childs Abduction,’ by Neeley Bratcher, I got just that. What did I get for the other half of the book? I still haven’t figured that out.

The story is the second in a series – I haven’t read the first and wasn’t lost – about Victoria Childs, or Vic as she’s known to her friends.

Vic is dating a police officer named Jason – who we find out at the beginning of the book has been AWOL for the past two weeks. Vic feigns anger but immediately gets over it because Jason invites her to go meet his family in New Orleans, so that automatically means it's okay that he treated her like dirt because he's got a great body and he rubs it against her.

Vic jumps at the chance, where she is immediately accepted by his family and makes snotty with his ex-wife.

In short order, Jason’s niece is kidnapped by his deranged ex-best friend (who slept with his wife). Vic trades herself for the little girl – and that’s where the story really begins.

What I find interesting about the book is that Vic was ridiculously strong when being kidnapped by two sociopaths – but ridiculously weak in just about every other instance of her relationship.

We were supposed to believe this was a tough woman – which she was much of the time – but then she did some ridiculously co-dependent things.

First off, the cooing and cuddling and whispered dialogue between the main duo is forced a lot of the time. When Bratcher lets the conversation flow from a natural point, the dialogue is engrossing. When she tries to force cuteness, it fades.

Still, I really liked Vic and Jason and was happily entrenched in the story – which has a soap opera twist – when something so jarring happened that it knocked me out of the narrative.

I usually don’t discuss spoilers, but this development in the book really surprised me – and I feel the need to vent. TURN AROUND IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW

Fairly late in the narrative, Vic and Jason are separated (by force) by the FBI. Forget, for a second, that the FBI cannot physically make you stay in a safe house for your own protection, but the contrivance to make it happen is painful.

Vic and Jason are then separated for a month, with Vic practically throwing herself at the agent staying with her and then alternately crying constantly because she’s separated from Jason.

When Vic finds out Jason is actually undercover with his ex-wife to smoke out her former lover – and his best friend – Vic flees protective custody and confronts Jason.

In short order, Jason admits to sleeping with his ex to get information from her – but it’s all okay because they had to “give him something” to get him to do it.

Fast fact, the only reason you need Viagra – or “help” – is if you have an actual physical problem. You don’t need it if you don’t like your partner.

Also, Vic is so outraged that I thought we were finally going to see the character regain her backbone, only to forgive him for lying and betraying her and immediately sleep with him. What a walking doormat.

Then, at the end of the book, not only does she put up with being verbally abused by this man (several times) she’s also happy just to have hope that maybe, someday, when he’s done treating her like dirt they might have a future together.

After that rant, you probably think I hate this book. That’s actually not true.

I enjoyed the vast majority of the book – and there were moments when the hilarity was laugh-out-loud – but the plot contrivances I mentioned above do not help make Vic more likeable. They kind of make her pathetic.

The problem is, the pathetic moments in the book war with the other moments in the book when she she’s a strong and viable heroine.

I’m torn.

I will definitely check out the next book in the series before I make a definitive decision, though. I guess that’s the best I can do.

‘Childs Abduction’ is available for $3.99 from Amazon.

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