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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Heart of Evil - Heather Graham



Released July 2011

Heather Graham
Harlequin

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

I'd like to say I cared about the characters in Heart of Evil or that they drew me into the story, but quite honestly this is the first time I've really disliked one of Heather Graham's books. If I hadn't been reading it for review, I wouldn't have finished it. As is, it took me two months to finally reach the ending, and that really is disappointing.

Following her father's death, Ashley Donegal of Donegal Plantation, is in charge of this year's Civil War reenactment. She never imagines the event will end up with her finding the body of one of the reenactment's actors. When other people disappear, it becomes clear there is a deranged killer on the loose, one who is targeting those closest to Donegal Plantation.

Jake Mallory is being plagued by horrific dreams involving Ashley, a woman he once loved. When he the Krewe of Hunters, a special crimes investigations unit that looks into paranormal angles, are called in to investigate a death at Donegal Plantation, he knows this will reunite him with the woman who turned him away years ago. Upon arriving in the town, he's welcomed by the ghost of a woman who obviously needs his help.

As Jake and Ashley work together, they learn that events from the Civil War era are definitely behind the current murders. Can they solve the crime before the killer targets Ashley?

I expected a lot from Heart of Evil but it really fell short. There are too many characters and none of them seem to be fleshed out well enough for the reader to form any connection. The plot ambles on and quite honestly it reached a point where I eagerly anticipated the killer again because the killer seemed to be the only character to give off any strong emotion. When Jake and Ashley decided to give their relationship another go, I didn't care. It's simply sad to not care about anyone in a novel.

The storyline is okay and definitely has some strong points, but overall, it moved slowly and until I reached pages in the range of the 270's nothing seemed to compel me to keep reading. By that point, the book only had about 100 pages left.

I read a galley copy that hopefully received editing before the print version hit stores. In a few areas, I had to go back and reread sections because the character's name suddenly switched in the middle of a scene. Given that, I went into Barnes and Noble last weekend to compare the version I had with the final copy and sure enough those same inaccuracies appear in the paperback release. When paying $8 for a book, the reader should have to struggle to keep track of which character is really speaking.

Heather Graham's fans may want to consider reading a snippet of the book before purchasing it. It's not the worst book I've ever read, but it's definitely not a strong example of the author's writing. Nothing about it compels me to read other Krewe of Hunters books.

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