Friday, May 15, 2009

REVIEW: "Blood Bayou"

Author: Karen Young
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: May 2009
Summary (B&N):
To Save a Victim, Camille St. James May Have to Become One Herself. Seven years ago, tragedy ended the troubled marriage of Camille and Jack Vermillion. Now, as head of the Truth Project, her life safe and orderly, she focuses her lawyerly skills on freeing wrongly incarcerated individuals on death row. Jack paid a bitter price for his mistakes. No longer a high-powered corporate attorney, he's now pastor of a small church in Blood Bayou. Unsure of her own beliefs, Camille is highly skeptical of the conversion of this man she hasn't seen in seven years. Then tragedy strikes again. Jack's sister is murdered, apparently by a prisoner Camille has set free. To prove his innocence, Camille must return to Blood Bayou. But that means facing the hostility of the town — and Jack. And as She Works to Find the Real Killer, Someone Is Determined to Stop Any Means.

My Thoughts: I have to be honest: when I first started the book, the story line was a bit dry, and it moved slow, too slow for my tastes. It wasn't enough to make me want to put the book down, unfinished, and it didn't make me hate the book in the end, but I think it's only fair that I say this, in case others happen to find themselves thinking the same thing, wondering if they should read the book. And here's my answer: yes. I don't regret reading this book, it was good. Maybe not at the top of my favorites list, but definitely not on my least favorite either. Moving on. After the story line picked up, I started to enjoy it. The characters were interesting, and Young did a wonderful job at making them seem real. They had flaws, they had pasts, but they knew what mistakes they may have made, and weren't wimpy or annoying. Good characters are a must for a good book, they're what holds the rest of the book together! The one thing that confused me a bit was how Young started the book out telling us about a murder mystery in this relatively small town, and it's Camille's job to help figure it out. But suddenly, less than a fourth of the way through the book, the mystery element kind of...disappeared, and suddenly it's all about Camille and Jack's rekindling of their previous relationship. Now, I like a good suspense/mystery that the author combines with a romance story, but the melting of the two elements in this particular book weren't the smoothest. Sorry, Karen, it's nothing really against your writing, maybe it's more of my own particular opinion on what I like to read in a book? It's hard to explain... However, as the story continued, I found myself enjoying it more and more. Jack and Camille's connection started to grow (again), and there were more than a few parts where I found myself chuckling (always a good thing). Most importantly, the mystery came back, with a powerful kick, adding drama and suspense back into the story. After they started putting more of the 'clues' together, I instantly knew who the killer was, but even figuring it out before the big climax didn't take away from the enjoyment of the book. If there is one thing I would have liked a bit more of in the book, it's the back story of Camille and Jack. The author touched on it, briefly, a few times, but it always left me wanting a bit more. Jack was an alcoholic when they were married, but it finally became too much for Camille and she divorced him. After he sobered up, he became a man of God. (PAUSE) Wait, how did that happen? Don't get me wrong, I know it's possible, and I think it's great, but I would like to have read a bit about it! Talk about a strong, but previously tortured hero... So why not give us a little nibble of what he went through? And I know this was suppose to be more of a lite Christian novel, which means no 'R' rated sex scenes, but I wish they'd had a bit more passion along the way, even if it was only kisses. Even sweet, innocent ones are better than nothing! 4/5 stars. All in all, this was a very good book. Just the right amount of mystery and a light touch of romance (I loved how the story shows you that love can be won, even after it's lost). Not too fluffy, but not too much hard core suspense either. Great for a quick read by the pool side! ;)


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