Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Invisible Doesn't Quite Do It For Me

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Dana Carlson's in the middle of a demolition job when she gets a distressed call from her 16-year-old niece, Peyton.  Dana's got enough problems of her own—especially when a body is found in the building she just cleared for collapse—but Julie, her big sister, is dying.  It's been almost 20 years since the sisters have seen each other; still, it's Julie.  The secrets that have kept them separated all this time don't matter now.  Dana needs to see her sister, needs to see if she's a candidate for kidney donation, needs to try to save the person who once saved her.  

But she's too late.  When Dana arrives in Black Bear, Minnesota, the little town where she grew up, her sister's already gone.  Dead at 39.  Julie Kelleher leaves behind a grieving husband and a shattered teenage daughter.  Neither seem particularly eager for an intrusion from Julie's estranged little sister, but Dana's determined to stay.  She wants to know Julie's family, the only blood relatives she has left.  More importantly, she needs to figure out just what caused Julie to get sick.  Everyone warns Dana to leave it alone—her blunt inquiries around town are doing more damage than good—but she can't.  Something in Black Bear is not right and she's going to get to the bottom of it, no matter what it takes.

As Dana steps on toes all over Black Bear, she sees just how much things have—and have not—changed since her childhood days in the little town.  The residents are still tight-lipped, judgmental and very, very good at keeping their own secrets.  Secrets that could get them all killed.

Novels featuring small towns with big secrets always sound appealing to me, which explains why I picked up Invisible by Carla Buckley.  As intriguing as its premise is, though, its execution leaves plenty to be desired.  The characters aren't overly likable, the plot's pretty generic, and little about the story really rings true.  Dana's sudden interest in the goings on in Black Bear is especially odd, considering she hasn't cared a lick about them for almost two decades.  Ditto goes for her new-found concern for Peyton.  Dana swivels from uncaring to passionate so fast that the shift seems too false, too contrived.  It bugged me throughout the whole novel.  So did the predictable storyline, the wooden characters, and the gaping plot holes.  So, yeah.  Invisible didn't quite do it for me.  Ah, well.  You win some, you lose some.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of dozens of other novels, although nothing's coming to my tired mind at the moment.  Suggestions?)

Grade:  


If this were a movie, it would be rated:  

for language (no F-bombs) and brief references to illegal drug use and underage drinking

To the FTC, with love:  I purchased a copy of Invisible from Target (I believe) with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.


2 comments:

  1. Ah, too bad. At one time I had considered putting this on my wishlist. But I take your word for it, if it is so similar and formulaic in plot to dozens of others, I can take a pass. Thanks for the review. By the way, I like your grading system :) I try to give heads-up also if there is excessive sexual matter or violence in books I review.

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  2. This is not about your review itself but as a fellow book blogger, I absolutely adore your love note to the FTC. Kudos!

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