Crackle and Fire
I was really looking forward to reading this when I first got the tour information on this novel from the folks at Blackthorn Book Tours. However, by the time I finished reading Part I, I have to admit I was beyond irritated.
Now, please understand that I am NOT a huge feminist. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I fully support women’s rights, it’s just the overt feminist thing is not my personality, although there is certainly a lot of it there. “Anything a man can do, I can do…and do it better.” That’s what the women in my family were taught. However, the majority of us tend to live more traditional lifestyles. I live a very, very traditional lifestyle. As close to 1950s Donna Reed/June Cleaver, as we can realistically get in this day and age.
Also, I worked in the beauty industry for over ten years as a practitioner, sales consultant, educator, distributor, every facet of the industry. When I wasn’t working in the industry, I was living with someone who was in the field my entire life. That being the case, I’ve worked with and been around all kinds of people from all walks of life, from all around the world. I’ve worked with women, men, straights and gays, transgenders, drag queens, transsexuals, old, young, middle aged, wealthy, poor, middle income, all races you can think of, all religions you can imagine.
I studied psychology and criminology in college. My father was also a cop for twelve years. I grew up around Law Enforcement and the legal system. I am friends with retired Law Enforcement, private investigators, lawyers and judges. I am friends with people who have been in jail or prison, or both. I know people that are in social work and rehabilitation work. My exposure to various types of individuals and various personalities has not been limited by any means.
I offer that explanation because I don’t want what I am about to write to come off as an uneducated and erratic woman being wickedly oversensitive to someone taking creative liberties. I have no problem with people taking creative liberties. I encourage and applaud such passion for their craft and the willingness to take those risks. That’s how masterpieces are made.
But as I was reading this book, I found a number of things that had they occurred once or twice, they wouldn’t have been a big deal. But they happened over and over and the way they just kept getting hammered into the manuscript with no apparent ties to the plot, it was just displeasing, I guess.
First, I noticed that the main character is written like a man in a woman’s body. She doesn’t seem to think like much like the average woman. She is very cocky and full of herself. Most women aren’t like that. Even in law enforcement. While women in law enforcement are stern or assertive, maybe even aggressive at times, to prove their equality, they rarely come off as rude and condescending as the author makes Hardwicke out to be.
Next, I’ve never in all my years met a woman who talks about herself in the erotic and provocative way as the author has Hardwicke speaking about herself. It’s like she talks about herself the same way men would if they were whispering about her in the office by the water cooler or the coffee bar. Most women find this kind of attention to be somewhat cheapening and disrespectful. It actually almost seems like Hardwicke sees women as objects and doesn’t really respect them at all. In fact, it almost feels like she doesn’t respect anyone.
For instance, the passage “My white T-shirt clings to my body, taut against the fabric.”. First of all, women don’t talk this way about themselves. A woman might say “my clothes were wet and clingy” or “my wet clothes were clinging to my body making them uncomfortable”. But adding the fact that it’s a white shirt in the rain and trying to create an image of a wet t-shirt contest, isn’t really drawing a respectful picture. Not to mention that the sentence doesn’t really flow right. The way it’s written it seems to imply that the shirt is taut against itself, which isn’t possible.
Plus, the constant random sexual references that seemingly have nothing to do with the plot. All the comments about a girl’s butt or her figure or how she’s making googly eyes at someone. All of the sexual stuff that is insinuated, it really needs to be pointed out in the blurb. This book almost reads like soft core porn with some detective stuff thrown in.
Now, if you have ever been to my website, it’s ALL horror and true crime. So, it takes a lot to offend me or ruffle my feathers. Bottom line is I just don’t think this author has a handle on writing for a female lead. If the main character was a male, I think the story would play a lot better. But as a female, she just comes off wrong in all the worst ways. And, in the end, it just got too frustrating to continue to read as all these little things started to pile up. By the time I got a few chapters into Part II, I just decided I couldn’t read any more.
I really do wish that the main character had been more appealing for what I felt was supposed to be a powerful and empowering role. Instead, the personality portrayed puts the whole manuscript on a somewhat acidic note that continues to sour and ferment as we continue through what would otherwise be an incredibly fascinating story full of suspense, tension and adventure.
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