Jane Stewart's Reviews > Love You to Death

Love You to Death by Shannon K. Butcher
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Sep 25, 10

bookshelves: romantic-suspense
Read in March, 2010

Good guys are victims and suffer setbacks rather than being smart and outwitting the killer. Some parts were repetitive.

STORY BRIEF:
Elise is a freelance reporter who writes about needy causes as she travels the world. Ashley is her free-spirited artist sister. They talk on the phone regularly. When Ashley doesn’t return Elise’s phone calls, Elise leaves her Hong Kong project and goes to Ashley’s home in Illinois. She searches for clues. Trent is Ashley’s neighbor who helps Elise.

The killer has been kidnapping women for years. He cuts off body parts with no anesthesia. He likes to hear them scream.

REVIEWER’S OPINION:
I loved the author’s first book “No Regrets.” But this fourth book just doesn’t compare. This is a story about good people being victims and not making the best decisions. And the killer has the good luck to have “others” covering up for him. But the motivations and actions of these “others” did not make sense to me - see Spoilers below.

Trent is a former cop but shows no cop intuition. He makes incorrect assumptions and also is too much of a victim. He and Elise know a professional hit man is trying to kill Elise. Yet the two of them do something stupid which allows a kidnapping. I prefer reading about someone being smart and taking interesting action to catch the killer. But that was not the case – it was mostly unlucky victims with a touch of luck at the end.

Elise is grieving for half the book which was tedious. I was also tired of her repeated arguing with Trent: “I have to take a chance. I have to find my sister.” And Trent saying “No don’t take chances.” There’s a paragraph toward the end where Elise is thinking she failed at this, she failed at that, she failed at these other things as well. I’m thinking “yes, and now you’re going to fail again.” This was no fun.

Trent refuses advice to solve his psychological problem. He left the police force two years earlier because he accidentally injured his partner John - putting John in a wheelchair. Trent avoids seeing to John out of guilt. Several times various people have therapy type discussions with Trent urging him to talk with John and solve his problem. But he refuses. I was getting a little tired of it.

I don’t mind Elise grieving, Trent having a problem, or their arguments about Elise wanting to do something, but too much time is spent on these issues - resulting in repetitive conversations and inner monologues.

CAUTION SPOILERS:
Unfinished ends. We don’t get any closure on what happens to the people who helped cover up and hide evidence. I wanted to know what started the killer in all of this. It had to do with his dead wife, but we don’t learn about that relationship and exactly what happened to her. Elise’s dream job was traveling the world and writing articles to make a difference. But at the end of the book, she decides to do something different. Why did she change her passion? What exactly will she do next? This was not answered.

One person was helping the killer by disposing of the bodies. He continued helping cover up in other ways, but he stopped disposing of the bodies. Therefore the cops found bodies. This didn’t make sense to me. Why continue some cover-up actions but stop the most important cover up?

The victim was last seen leaving Sally’s bar with a “guy.” When Elise asks to see video tapes from the bar, the bartender sees a chance to get money. He calls “someone” connected to the “guy” asking for a bribe. Why didn’t he call the “guy?” What made him think “someone” would pay a bribe? Besides this was the first time the killer used the bar to get a victim. So the bartender had no reason to believe the “guy” was doing something really bad. The bartender’s motivations were confusing – needed more development.

DATA:
Story length: 377 pages. Swearing language: strong. Sexual language: moderate. Number of sex scenes: 3. approximate number of sex scene pages: 19. Setting: current day Haven and Chicago, Illinois. Copyright: 2009. Genre: romantic suspense.

OTHER BOOKS:
For a list of my reviews of other Shannon K. Butcher books, see my 5 star review of “No Regrets” posted 10/13/08.
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