Friday, November 21, 2008

Now You See Her by Linda Howard ****

This book came from an eBay glom I did - got several LH books for a low, low price. I read it, I enjoyed it - but it wasn't --- great.

It's a murder mystery with a background in romance. Maybe it should be called a thriller or suspense - I just went googling in search of some definition assistance. Mystery is the unveiling of the clues, the whodunit, and in suspense you as the reader know it's going to happen but not how the protagonists will react or the outcome of the suspense (to which the protagonists are not privy).

So this was a mystery with suspense - well, thriller maybe, because while the victims didn't know it was coming, the hero and heroine sure did.

I agree with some of the criticisms pointed out by the 2 reviewers on AAR for this story. Our heroine, Sweeney, became psychic - she sees dead people. She knows the answers to Jeopardy! before the clues are even revealed. Her presence makes traffic get out of the way, traffic lights turn green and cars abandon the best parking spots so she can park right in front. And she sleep-paints death scenes and is unnaturally cold afterwards. But, why? What happened to her to make these gifts suddenly start? What is the significance of the traffic and the Jeopardy! answers, other than to prove she has some gift? We are never shown and we are never told.

She's an artist, living in NYC, and since her Gifts appeared, she's been painting stuff she finds weird and wrong - although once shown to her adoring gallery owner, it seems everyone loves them. Ah - the adoring gallery owner is going through a nasty divorce from Richard Worth, a Horatio-Alger story fellow, grew up poor, got rich and is now dumping Candra.

Candra's another dilemma. If Richard was as great a lover as she thinks, WTF was she doing screwing everything in pants? We are shown she's a snob - and maybe there's a hint of insecurity, but it doesn't add up to sexual addiction, which is the only answer I could come up with for collecting an average of 2 additional lovers a month. Or more. She makes it clear he was insatiable so how could she be even more insatiable than he? We are never told. Richard knows about her adultery, but he's an honorable fellow who keeps his vows until she reveals she had an abortion. Then it's over.

Richard has always thought Sweeney was attractive. Sweeney was always too wrapped up in her art to give any man a single thought. Until that Diet Coke commercial...

OK - she sees Richard for the first time since the Gift and in her heightened awareness is wildly attracted to him. And he senses it and returns it in spades.

The story is then about how Sweeney has these two episodes of painting while asleep, each a murder scene. The second one comes in spurts - first just shoes, then more but no face. When she finally paints the face and learns who the victim is, the victim is dead. Now we're on a manhunt to uncover the killer whose face hasn't yet been painted. Uh, why didn't they watch her at night to see if she would paint the killer's face??

There was a shortlist for the position of killer - there weren't that many characters in the story - and it's given away pretty easily. So - I enjoyed reading it, I liked the hero, I didn't understand the heroine, and the story wasn't as good as I've come to expect from a great author like Linda Howard. Yeah, yeah, a rich guy, an artist, a senator and his ambitious bitch of a wife, the gallery owner and her lover - whodunit? Guess.

still, 4 stars because she is such a good writer that even mediocre from her is 4 stars.

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