Every Move You Make
It’s hard for a reader to get involved with a work of fiction when she doesn’t care about the characters. Fictional characters needn’t be nice, but there has to be something about them to draw the reader’s interest. Unfortunately, I was never drawn to the characters in Jill Jones’ Every Move You Make. The problem? A remoteness to the characterizations; the heroine (or female protagonist, if you prefer) never came alive and if there was a true male lead, I couldn’t say for sure who he was.
Regan McKinney moves to San Francisco to live with her sister after a divorce from an emotionally abusive man. It’s too bad for Regan that she happens to pick a time to move when there’s a serial killer on the loose. The killer ends up focusing on Regan, and she’s got to deal with a psycho after her while also dealing with her new-found singleness, a new job, and the new men in her life.
There were many little things about this book that bothered me. One of the most distracting was that atop each chapter, the day and time was provided. If meant to ratchet the suspense up a notch, the author failed. There were simply too many chapters that it was pointless to keep track. As for the chapters themselves, let’s just say that I am not inordinately fond of two-page chapters. But little things do not ruin a book. Big things do. Things like characters, and to put it simply, I didn’t care about them.
Coming off a marriage to an emotionally controlling man who eroded her confidence might make a girl hesitant, and Regan certainly was cautious – almost too cautious – but her character was also inconsistent and at times her actions made no sense. She begins to date the handsome and often sweet but often bizarre Peter Smith. Given her past experience and innate sense of caution, her quick fall into love with Peter didn’t make sense. And, near the end of the book she exhibits textbook TSTL behavior that nearly costs her her life. Seems our Regan is not terribly bright.
Peter Smith is one of the male leads in the book. A dance teacher with a mysterious other job, Peter is a strange character. One would expect a dance teacher to be colorful and possibly charismatic. Not so our Peter, who instead comes across as a vague person who can’t remember what he’s done half the time. He’s shy, and if he were a color, I’d call him beige. No spark with him, either. Peter is so mysterious that it’s hard to get a handle on his character (and again, that makes it hard to care), although he’s certainly suspicious.
Sam Sloane is the FBI agent in charge of the murder case. He’s gruff and on the edge of burnout, but he’s determined to catch the killer. After the killer makes a move on Regan, Sam is determined that she won’t lose her life.
The spine of this book clearly says “Fiction.” It definitely focuses on the suspense, although there’s a love story included, albeit an unappealing one due to the characters’ remoteness and lackluster qualities.
The killer’s point of view is seen throughout the book, but he’s never referred to by name. Basically, all the male characters are suspects, including Kevin Carrington and Ed Johnson, who have smaller roles but are still in the mix. Kevin is the computer genius who Regan is trying to interview for an article, and Ed is Kevin’s mentor. Regan’s sister, Kat, and Kat’s daughter, Blair, complete the cast.
Readers who connect with some or all of these characters will no doubt find the story more suspenseful than I did. And while I like a good thriller, the ultimate reason for the killer’s spree in this instance was so horrible and over the top that I get the willies just thinking about it.
The writing style of Every Move You Make isn’t horrible, there are no purple patches to be found, but it nonetheless took three weeks to finish, a very bad sign for a thriller. This review comes at a perfect time because it relates to the current ATBF – this is a prime example of the type of book I’d skim (or trade in unfinished) were I not reading it for review.