Showing posts with label Janet Evanovich. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Janet Evanovich. Show all posts

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Troublemaker by Janet Evanovich, Alex Evanvovich, Joelle Jones

Rating: WARTY!

Illustrated by Joelle Jones, this is a classic example of it's not what you can write, but who you know. The blurb doesn't even pretend that daughter Alexandra Evanovich (or Evanvovich as idiot Amazon, known for screwing-up of author's names, has it!) had any writing involvement at all although she's credited with it, so maybe she did contribute. We'll never know. But what a great way to get your foot in the door, huh, on the fly leaves of your mom?

I thought I could kill two birds with one stone here, reading an Evanovich, which I'd really had no interest in because her titles are far too gimmicky, and seeing what her daughter might have contributed, and all in a short graphic format, but it was a complete fail! I should have paid closer attention to the blurb: "Alex Barnaby and Sam Hooker are back together and fighting crime the only way they know how - by leaving a trail of chaos, panic, and disorder." Yep, that's how to successfully fight crime all right! Not! In the end it was nothing worth my time.

The first problem I had was with how the two main characters are set up. Masculine Sam is the leading man - the daring racecar driver. Alexandra Barnaby is his lackey. No surprises there. It's about what I'd expect from someone of Evanovich's generation, where playing it safe and by the numbers is an unwritten rule. So, a man has gone missing and since all police are pretty much universally useless in these interfering meddler stories, twin clowns Barnaby and Hooker evidently have to go deep into the "underbelly of Miami" (which in this era of climate change is actually underwater), delving int "Voodoo, explosions, gift-wrapped body parts, and a deadly swamp chase." Yawn. This novel sucked, period. That's all it merits as a review. I'm done with these two authors. Nothing to see here. Moving along.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Title: The Chase
Author: Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Rating: WARTY!

DISCLOSURE: Unlike the majority of reviews in this blog, I've neither bought this book nor borrowed it from the library. This is a "galley" copy ebook, supplied by Net Galley. I'm not receiving (nor will I expect to receive or accept) remuneration of any kind for this review. Since this is a new novel, this review is less detailed so as not to rob the writer of their story, but even so, it will probably still be more in-depth than you'll typically find elsewhere!

I am not a fan of Evanovich's or Goldberg's, having read nothing by either of them before, and now I know why. This novel took me less than two chapters to decide it was awful, amateurish, condescending, and clichéd. And did I mention how amateurish it was? In the extreme? You know, I don't blame authors for writing lousy novels. I blame readers for buying them, but if there's a market to exploit, hey, go for it. I'm sure that the reading public deserve what they get. As for me, I'll go with something that reads like it was written for those who still maintain a certain level of intelligence and literary discrimination and for novels which, far from insulting women and turning them into caricatures, actually give us a smart, interesting, fun, and strong female characters, not simply men in heels.

So we begin with a bomb explosion Sunday morning in the LA financial district large enough to set off car alarms a mile away. The female protagonist, FBI agent Kate O'Hare is no more than a dozen miles away getting breakfast at MacDonald's, yet she hears nothing strange. Hmm! Maybe that's reasonable. Maybe. We're treated to a description of O'Hare's breakfast. I really needed to read that because it's so utterly crucial to the plot. This is the second in a series where the female main character, who has to be the most moronic FBI agent ever (more anon), hooks up with con man Nicholas Fox (Fox and O'Hare, get it? Ha ha! How hilarious!). From this it's painfully obvious exactly what kind of relationship they will have, exactly how this novel will go, and exactly how it will end, and that this mystery has no mystery to it whatsoever.

O'Hare's and her partner are called in to tackle the case, so she drives over to pick him up, and we're treated to a description of what he's wearing. Seriously? Who honestly gives a damn that he's wearing a dress shirt? Really? What Evanovich and Goldberg are doing here (and getting away with it) is exactly what we're warned never to do as writers, but no one cares if she does it or if he does, because they're part of the establishment now! They don't have to play by the absurd rules forced upon the rest of us. They can actually can get away with writing the very novels which would be turned down flat by Big Publishing if any of us tried to submit this same thing!

Kate drives to the site of the blast like a maniac, no lights flashing, driving on the sidewalk, swerving crazily around other vehicles, risking causing accidents. There's no emergency here, yet she drives dangerously for no reason whatsoever. If this were a first-time novel written by a sixteen-year-old I could understand the poor writing. It would never get published, but I could understand the quality of it. There is no excuse whatsoever for professional writers to not only write this detestable trash, but be allowed to get away with it by their editor and publisher.

As if that isn't bad enough, it gets worse! Here's where it really started down the toilet and into the sewerage system for me. Oh, did I mention that Evanovich (or Goldberg) claim that Kate was US special forces - which is patent nonsense? As much as I would love to see women given exactly the same opportunities as men, they do not have this yet. Women have played supporting roles in special forces, which is a good start, but to simply put this into your novel as though it's not only happening, but happened long-enough ago (well over five years ago!) that she could have served and been honorably discharged is some serious horseshit! A new writer would be pilloried for an absurd gaff like that, but this actually isn't the problem I had with chapter two. It's O'Hare's abysmal incompetence.

Once she arrives at the site of the bomb blast, she starts figuring out that the blast wasn't aimed at the building in which it was set, but at the alarms in the bank buildings all around. In short, there's a robbery going on somewhere nearby; so far so good, but it's all downhill from there. Yes, of course the robbery is being conducted by Fox, who strolls out of a bank dressed as a cop, and carrying a large bag full of loot. O'Hare challenges him - and then lets him go! Despite having her gun trained on him she fires no shots, warning or otherwise, neither to disable the car nor to make the perp think twice about fleeing. Not a single cop there draws a gun on him, because Kate fails to alert the police force to what's going down. No one but Kate gives chase, and she gives not one heads-up to any cops! She does not relay any information about the car, the license plate, or the the vehicle ID number painted on it. She simply lets him drive away!

In short, she's not only thoroughly incompetent, she's also a frigging moron. The last thing I need on my reading list is yet another story that insults women by turning them into super-heroes who are simultaneously brain-dead Mary Sues. If I want to read about a strong female character, then I'd like it to be about a female, not a guy with tits. This means you make her tough without throwing yourself on the sadly geriatric trope of claiming she was special forces. You make her smart-tough, and you do not make toughness be her defining characteristic, especially if you're going to pair it up with abysmal incompetence in that she lets this thief whom she's apparently been failing to catch for five years, get away when she has him quite literally in her gun sight. The fact that she admits that she can't decide whether to shoot Fox or to kiss him was the last straw for me. Can we pile any more clichés and tropes onto Mary Sue O'Hare's shoulders? Can we? I don't think so!

Seriously, get a clue. Get an original idea for goodness sakes, and ditch the tropes. This novel is warty in the extreme, and I'm done here.