It’s a Mystery : The Perfect Wife, by Blake Pierce

The Perfect Wife (Jessie Hunt #1)The perfect  dupe

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

For a criminal profiler in training, Jesse Hunt is amazingly clueless . Less than halfway through this book, it was glaringly obvious that there was something rotten in Westport Beach, but Jesse’s incapable of adding 2 and 2. Her perfect husband is behaving suspiciously and erratically. Her practicum supervisors are breaking all the ironclad rules for her , and the infamous serial killer she’s interviewing knows all about Jesse’s life, past and present. She’s witnessing neighbors running around naked. This plot is so transparent and derivative, the writing so juvenile, the protagonist so gullible and hapless, that I couldn’t bring myself to finish The Perfect Wife.

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It’s a Mystery: Small Town, by Lawrence Block

4.0 out of 5 stars Speculation

Small Town is a novel seated upon two levels. It’s a first rate thriller, its unconventional serial killer, The Carpenter, a compelling character upon which to construct a very intriguing plot. Slightly reminiscent of Six Degrees of Separation, the mystery draws together an interesting pastiche of New Yorkers, with each playing a part in the solution of the mystery, and in the process, unknowingly crossing paths in ways that contribute to the eventual apprehension of a murderer, one who never used the same MO twice.

This is a complex, original plot line, driven by the speculations and rationalizations of the various characters. Along the way, each of the leading players ponders, experiments, and comes to terms with hitherto unacceptable (to them) or unacknowledged facets of their own beings. Unfortunately, the action is interrupted on numerous occasions with lengthy, gratuitous, graphic, kinky sex scenes.  Granted, sexual activity plays an important role in the identities of some of them, and  I don’t object to a bit of this sort of thing to delineate issues and sexrelationships, but in this case, it’s excessive. Even worse, these interludes add nothing to the novel as a whole, and lend a strong sense of incredulity to the love match that develops during the second half of the story. Apparently author Block hasn’t heard that less is more. For this reason, I was, reluctantly, forced to subtract a star. Too bad.