Friday, May 18, 2012

Whitney Award Winner Doesn't Do Much For Me

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When Mia Hardy dies in a car accident, it almost destroys her college roommate, Fiona Claridge.  If it hadn't been for Fiona's impatience, the tragedy never would have happened.  Even now, 8 years later, she can't quite forgive herself for the part she played in her friend's death.  She's trying to move on, but it's difficult, maybe even impossible.  Fiona's busy with her job as an assistant English professor, the renovations on her 83-year-old fixer-upper, and ... not much else.  Still, she is moving forward.

Then, Fiona receives a sinister "gift" that tells her someone else can't forget the accident or her part in it.  She tries to laugh it off—it's probably just a ticked off student trying to get revenge for a poor grade—but when the threats continue, Fiona hardly knows what to do.  It doesn't help that travelling back to her hometown brings back memories of Mia and—even more disconcerting—of her old flame, Alan Taylor.  Alan's wife isn't thrilled to see her husband's old flame and neither are several other townspeople who still blame Fiona for Mia's death.    All the emotion stemming from these events leaves Fiona feeling weak, hopeless and scared.

As Fiona gets even more tangled with the people from her past, the threats against her get worse.  Are they really just pranks from an upset student or something much, much more dangerous?  Fiona must figure it out in order to save her sanity—and her life.

Rearview Mirror, an LDS murder mystery by Stephanie Black, just won a Whitney Award for best mystery written in 2011 by a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  So, apparently, I missed something because, for me, this book just bugged.  It's predictable; full of big, gaping plot holes; and features a heroine who is not just depressing, but helpless and annoying.  The writing never engaged me, the characters annoyed me, the dialogue sounded unnaturally stiff—so yeah, Rearview Mirror didn't do much for me.  Other people found it enjoyable, though, so this could just be another case of me being way too picky.  It's been known to happen (okay, it happens all the time).  All I know is that if I hadn't been required to finish this one in order to vote for the Whitney Award winners, I wouldn't have.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything right off the top of my head.  Can you?)

Grade:  C-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG for violence



To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Rearview Mirror from the generous folks at Covenant Communications via the Whitney Award Committee.  Thank you!   

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