Monday, 8 May 2017

Christmas Chaos

Author: Pailin Jay
Genre: LGBT
Book Rating: 6
Personal Rating: 5

The opening of this book was nothing short of spectacular.  Can't lie, I was hooked.  Dark brooding forensic photographer on his way to a local crime scene, the setting matched his mood just so much win.  After that, it slowly went down hill.

The main character picks up a clearly distraught man at the scene, obviously close to the vic, and takes him lunch which is fine.  But then it just didn't hit the levels of heavy the book seemed set up for. We've got a lead character here that's brooding over his life as an orphan, talking to a complete stranger who just lost his best friend about well, stuff.  I was just waiting for that emotional waterfall to happen but it didn't quite get there.
Also, if the owner of the restaurant is like your 'mom' and you are too 'distraught' to now go home to your empty shared apartment.  Why are you going home with this stranger?  For all you know he could be a psycho, and this photographer nonsense is a cover he uses to find victims.  Why aren't you asking 'mom' if you can stay with her for a while, while you grieve?  If you have someone willing to feed you for free and help you grieve why choose some random?

At the house, the talk shifts back to hospital work (the vic and friend work at a hospital) and specifically about the friend.  You can see the 'romance' coming a mile away.  A random comment related to the vic will pop up just so we know yes someone did indeed die,  But my issue here is the same restaurant owner who you should've been going to for comfort, calls says she's cooked up a storm to heal you by food (food solves all the things, I cosign this) and you presume to invite her to someone else's house, without asking.  Who does that?  Personal space boundaries not important.  At that point grieving or not he would've been out the door. No, you can not invite strange people I don't know to my place.  You shouldn't even be here.

And, plot spoiler, the twist ending.  Apparently are leads parents are alive, owner of restaurant is is grandma and he goes straight from brooding nobody loves me to calling the father he never knew and they all start to heat up some grub in his kitchen like thye've been a happy family for years.  The suspension of reality needed for this to work is too much.  Years and years of self-loathing does not up and leave the building in a few minutes.  Not even in fiction.  Especially because of a stranger who forced herself upon you.  Wound's take time to heal and a cold heart doesn't warm up overnight let alone immediately after a forced revelation.

There was entirely too much potential for a real deep emotional journey from a man broken by life to one growing into the family he thought he didn't have.  Also, way too much potential for a friend to grieve and take the time needed to adjust to life without his best friend.  The murder was tied up way to quick for such a beautiful beginning sequence. If it wasn't important to the plot it shouldn't have been written so well to make me feel the murder case would hold some page space.  The big reveal was too fast to allow our lead ample time to digest such a big change to his life.

There was just too much potential for a beyond awesome journey of healing through love, self-discovery, and most importantly, good Italian cooking, Mmmmm.  But the story lacked the page length needed to sell the emotional weight of it all thus making it feel rushed which is sad because this story had the makings of awesome.

On a tech side, the borders are so wide it looks, as someone else eloquently put (yes I research a bit to be sure I'm not overreacting sometimes) like a student trying to reach a page count on an essay so they made really large margins.  Too much white space in comparison to other ebooks.  So much so that the title looks like:
Because it can't fit across the screen. The cover though... Awesome.  Loved it.  Especially the initialising of the title in the lens.  A nice touch.  I may have smiled a bit.

Overall this book felt like too much focus on the wrong things and I kept waiting for the plot to leap from the pages but it never quite made it.  And it required too much suspension of how I would expect two people to respond to such intense life altering circumstances in the real world which prevented me from actually connecting with the story.

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