Now You Die
Yes, it’s true. AAR reviewers are not fond of writing C reviews. Christiane Heggan’s Now You Die perfectly illustrates why.
When the biggest reaction a book provokes is an indifferent shrug of your shoulders or mildly raised eyebrows at a bit of plot inanity, there’s just not that much to say. So, instead of trying (probably vainly) to come up with a different way of saying the same old thing, I’m going to break down for you exactly why this book is so groaningly average.
Plot: Sadly, the plot here is a bit on the stupid side since the successful young creator of a popular comic strip decides to embark on that familiar dim bulb quest: “solving” a crime herself. Frankly, since the heroine has pretty good indication early on that the murderer on the loose (a) might be someone she knows and (b) that she’s clearly a target, this makes about as much sense as that familiar plucky young, nightgown-clad heroine investigating spooky noises in the middle of the night armed only with a candle. Still, I’ve been forced to suffer through the antics of even dimmer bulbs in past books and, aside from her monumentally idiotic decision to try to catch the killer through her strip, she’s basically likable and the plot – though predictable – is okay enough.
Characters: Let’s just say that you’ve met heroine Zoe Foster and hero Rick Vaughn before. Multiple times. Make that multiple, multiple times. Once married, still carrying a torch for each other. She does stupid things in pursuit of the murderer…macho Rick objects. Nighclub owner Rick also objects to the obligatory “other” love interest – you know, the one Zoe just can’t seem to fall in love with even though she knows there’s no reason not to. There is also (big surprise!) a sexy other woman with whom Zoe can spar. This sparring isn’t especially sophisticated, mind you, but sparring it is. All in all, the characters are basically okay if decidedly far too familiar.
Prose: If an author’s prose is clunkly or if she is grammar-challenged, frankly, it’s all over for me. Happily enough, neither was a problem here. But, with that said, there’s something kind of stilted about a lot of the dialogue, almost as if the characters came straight out of a 1950’s gangster movie. For example, a bartender in Rick’s club calls Zoe “kid” and “doll”. It’s kind of…well, odd. But while that’s weird and the verbal sparring isn’t all that interesting, I can’t find that much to call the author on either. The prose here is largely serviceable, if anything but inspired.
So, there you have it. Okay, but slightly inane plot. Okay, if slightly predictable and regrettably occasionally TSTL characters. Okay, if uninspired prose. All, in all, one major league shrug of the shoulders. Like you, I’ve been there and done that. Multiple times. Make that multiple, multiple times.