Jim Thomsen's Reviews > Secrets to Die for

Secrets to Die for by L.J. Sellers
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's review
Jul 01, 2010

it was ok
Read in June, 2010

I'm of mixed feelings about "Secrets To Die For." On the one hand, it's a fast-paced police procedural, with lots of authenticity and plenty of crisp plotting. On the other hand, it feels like a triumph of craft over art, a perfunctory product of how-to-write-a-mystery exercises, workshops and how-to books.

There's no original writer's voice here, no dialogue or descriptions that make you say "Wow!" and no characters that developed well enough to inspire ongoing emotional connections for readers — a strange disconnect given the lurid subject matter of the story. Especially disappointing is the failure to give develop Eugene, Oregon as an enticing setting — given that the real Eugene is bursting with rich personality.

The book simply lacks flavor, in my opinion. I'd like to see the author, now that she's developed her craft, take a cue from the masters of her chosen genre and develop her ART by spicing up her characters, settings, dialogue and descriptions in risk-taking, original fashion. Ultimately, readers become loyal to series authors because they love the central and recurring characters — but I really don't feel like I've been given any reason to feel invested in the flat, one-dimensional Wade Jackson and his colleagues.

I wish the author well, and will probably browse her next efforts — but won't buy unless I perceive that subsequent books are necessary improvements on this one.

(Further tipping the scales for me are a number of distracting line-editing errors.)
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Paul I have to disagree Jim.

I feel the author has developed Wade Jackson superbly over the first two books. I have yet to read the third, but will definitely do so real soon.

I also think she has painted a good picture of Eugene in so many ways. So much so that I would definitely like to visit the place.

It is interesting how two people can have such different thoughts about the same book, but that's what makes literature such a wonderfully art form.

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