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  • Writer's pictureTantra Bensko

Please Don't Let Life Be This Mundane

The cover of Say You're Sorry by Melinda Leigh is gorgeous and I'm a sucker for red titles. It's been number in on Amazon in three categories for a while: women sleuths, Suspense, and Mystery, but it was also provided to me first with the key words Romantic Suspense. I study that market, reading books and comparing them to the customer reviews. I have to say, on this one, my assessment of the writing style was mirrored by the 1s and 2s.

The logline is very good. The situation is a great set-up for dilemmas and being pulled in multiple directions, having to make difficult moral decisions. I remained curious about who the killer was, though his introduction at the beginning narrowed him down among suspects and made him rather boring to me, so ugly cruel. It's not a terrible book, but has a clear, reasonable plot and proper grammar.

One of the reviewers said the key evidence found on the suspect was never addressed. Wow, if that's true, taking the time to finish this book would be beyond maddening. But I thought surely that can't be true. It has lots of reviews and though there are a lot of negative ones, it's a small but articulate percentage. They said what I felt: the prose style is pedestrian. It's so mundane, it became more painful the longer I read it. Sentences repeated structures in paragraphs ruthlessly, not for effect but seemingly, without concern for what effect it would have. However, writers are warned to write simple sentences that twelve-year-olds could read because that's a common level of reading. That's a tough challenge.

But even so, allowing for that restriction, I found nothing beautiful, nothing to inspire my imagination, and the cover made me expect that I would. I desperately wanted to escape the dullness, predictable, prose to the wonders of real life. The narrator has no voice. That's the thing. I don't feel a person there. One of the reviewers called it robotic.

I kept trying to make it through it for days, but finally, nearly halfway through, this did me in: "'Is there anything I might do or say that could upset her" Morgan asked, always thinking of others, never for herself." Wow. The market isn't actually children, who might possibly need on-the-nose explanations like that. It's people who have managed to survive to adulthood.

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