by Nancy Bush

October 2005
ISBN: 0-7582-0905-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Kensington Publishing

Being the kind of reader who enjoys a good laugh along with her romance, I was pleased to have the chance to read Candy Apple Red, the first book in a new series a la Stephanie Plum. I love wacky characters, earnest but bumbling attempts at normalcy, and a good mystery.

Itís a shame that the book failed to deliver those qualities.

The fact that I was disappointed on several levels can all go back to one root cause. I had nothing invested in the main character, Jane Kelly. She is by no means a chip of the Plum, Yablonsky or Blackbird block. These women have depth. I found Jane to be a very shallow gal indeed. To make matters worse, her male protagonists left me lukewarm. There was some spark missing from the characterizations that kept me at a distance. I donít like being a distant observer. I kept looking for something to connect me with this book. I searched in vain.

Even the murder was uninspiring, although the outcome of the mystery was one redeeming facet. The signs of their involvement were well hidden, and the true motive was a surprise. So that was a plus. The fact that the victim was also a criminal did not give me any reason to care about the crime. Ho-hum.

What it all boiled down to was that my favorite character in the story was a Pug named Binks, and that she was the only one I cared enough about to finish the book. As a hardcover novel, this book would be better borrowed from the library, if at all.

Reviewed in November 2005 by Paula.

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