Jane Stewart's Reviews > The First Mistake

The First Mistake by Merline Lovelace
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's review
Apr 23, 12

bookshelves: action-spy-mystery
Read in April, 2012

It kept my interest. I did not wish it would be over. But I expected romance which was not there.

The spine labels this book “romantic suspense.” When I finished the book my first thought was “This is not romance! It’s action spy mystery.” It reads like a TV show - mostly action scenes. Private detective Cleo is supplying security to an obnoxious movie star who is appearing at a film festival. At the same time Cleo is investigating and hopes to solve a ten-year-old murder mystery involving the chairman of the film festival. Various bad guys or suspicious guys do things, and Cleo reacts quickly and smartly and gets the jump on them, or survives the attack, or protects her client, etc.

There is no unusual or intriguing character development. These are predictable, typical, generic good guys and bad guys.

There is no relationship development. Cleo worked with Jack once several years ago and they had sex at that time. Now they are working together again and have sex again. But when the case is solved they separate. Cleo is with no romantic interest at the end of the book. To call this romance she should have ended up with someone and more attention should have been paid to a relationship. This is the first of three books in the Cleo North series. It’s possible that Cleo ends up with Jack at the end of book 3, but I don’t know.

I didn’t like the gimmick of a “hook at the end of a chapter,” which the author did. Cleo has a tape recording she sent to a lab. The lab guy tells Jack they have a match. Then the author switches to other characters in other places. Finally twelve pages later Jack is on the phone with Cleo telling her the identity of the guy. Authors are told to do this to keep people reading. Well, it didn’t keep me reading. It just forced me to flip ahead to find the answer, and then I put the book down to go to sleep. The next day I started reading where I left off “at the hook.” It’s annoying, not enjoying.

Readers in the mood for a smart tough female private detective who outwits everyone including CIA guys. There’s lots of action. There is no heroine stupidity. It’s an escape. It’s not bad. It’s just not got some of the things that I prefer.

Story length: 362 pages. Swearing language: strong, including religious swear words. Sexual language: strong. Number of sex scenes: 3. Total Number of sex scene pages: 5. Setting: current day various locations, but mostly New Mexico. Copyright: 2005. Genre: action spy mystery.
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