Saturday, 28 July 2012

Review. Cut & Run - Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case.

Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work after his case blows up in his face. He's cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does. But when he's paired with Special Agent Zane Garrett, it's hate at first sight. Garrett is the perfect image of an agent: serious, sober, and focused, which makes their partnership a classic cliché: total opposites, good cop-bad cop, the odd couple. They both know immediately that their partnership will pose more of an obstacle than the lack of evidence left by the murderer.

Practically before their special assignment starts, the murderer strikes again — this time at them. Now on the run, trying to track down a man who has focused on killing his pursuers, Grady and Garrett will have to figure out how to work together before they become two more notches in the murderer's knife.

While reading this book I had quite a few thoughts circling in my mind, but of those the most prominent three were:

1. Gods, save me from the adverbs. 

2. Gods, save me from the repetition. I’ll forget the adverbs as long as the repetition ends NOW.

3. This isn’t a character driven story, because the characters are the story. 

Now, there’s nothing wrong with a character centric book, but. 

There’s hardly any plot. Scratch that. There’s no plot. There’s barely a framework for a murder mystery and an awkward excuse to bring two men together and have them fall in love against all odds and their life experience up until that point. 

Ty G. and Zane G. (Grady and Garrett respectively) fall into each others arms repeatedly in scenes that can only be described as fantasy fulfilment. They take turns disrobing in front of each other and getting conveniently hurt to allow the other to touch them in a caring manner.  And of course this leads to unresolved sexual tension which quickly becomes resolved. 

Too quickly. Their relationship progresses too fast, which is a considerable achievement considering the over all length of the book. My NetGalley copy showed closer to 400 hundred Kindle pages than 300 and half of those could have easily been left on the cutting room floor without any significant loss to the plot. Er. My mistake: -without any significant loss to the character and relationship arcs. 

One of my Kindle notes says: 

”They’re od’ing on deux ex machina plot point encounters.”

The success of this book hinges on the readers connection to the characters. 

As a long time soap opera viewer I’m a sucker prone to suffering through horrible plot lines just to see my favourite characters stumble from one ill-advised adventure to another.

But I’m also a mystery and crime novel fan and whodunnits have made my heart skip ever since I picked up my first Agatha Christie Novel. And in this, too, the novel fails.

Almost all plot advancement mystery partition of the story is done in short paragraphs telling what had happened with the case and the world around them. The foreshadowing is done with a heavy hand and the culprit is clear pretty much from the beginning. At the time it felt like some relevant information like Zane’s wedding ring is withheld until the last minute.

I also have other small complaints like the fact that I’m not sure how accurate the hospital scenes are or like someone on Twitter said: New York is a city that should be a character. It’s not in Cut & Run and that shows the lack of actual research on the authors’ part. 

There’s a lot criticism in this review, so why is the rating two stars instead of one? 

That’s easy. I’m picturing Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki as Ty and Zane. 

Wonder why exactly that is.

2 stars

 I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

Series: Cut & Run #1
Pages: 348 (paperback)
Publisher:        Dreamspinner Press
Published:         September 1st 2008
Source: NetGalley


The Bookworm said...

Oh that's too bad :( good on you for sticking with it though.

Carole Rae said...

Yuuuummmmm. Jared and Jensen. I can see why you added that extra star. Gah. I'm sorry about this one.

Mystica said...

I am also a crime and mystery fan - Agatha Christie, P D James, Elizabeth George and Colin Dexter. This is a new one for me - you don't sound very enthusiastic though! I thought the basic plot was a good one but maybe it did not take off from there.

Teddyree said...

Life's too short, I think I'll be giving this one a miss lol. Thanks for your honesty though ;)

Blodeuedd said...

As always thank you for your review Rameau :)

Chris said...

I thought this was by far the weakest story in the series.

Staci said...

Redundancy drives me crazy....I would pass on this one!

rameau said...

I did mention I prefer things on the plotty side, didn't I?

The thing is, although, I read this as a modified (real person) fanfic from the start, I thought I've read better actual fanfics.

rameau said...

I've been watching that show for ages for two or three very simple reasons.

rameau said...

This is basically an M/M romance with very little plot on the side. Ty's and Zane's relationship IS the plot. And although I've been known to enjoy such a read occasionally, I've read it done a thousand times better in actual fanfics.

It's okay to enjoy this book, it just wasn't enough for me.

rameau said...

Life's too short but sometimes we do this to ourselves anyway.

The second book is better, but not by much. If you're the type to enjoy a book (series) solely about the characters, then this might be your thing.

rameau said...

You're welcome.

One of these days I'm going to hit the gold vein and give you a five star review. I'd promise, but the odds are against us.

rameau said...

I'm only on the third book, I'll let you how it turns out. I fully plan on reviewing all of them.

rameau said...

That if anything made it obvious that two authors were behind this novel. They hadn't yet perfected their collaboration skills.

Anonymous said...

Adverbs, repetition, and the non-plot? I’m surprised you even gave this 2 stars!

Cherry said...

I'm reading a book set in New York (Promise In Death by JD Robb) and I could "feel" New York... and I think that is one of the reasons why the In Death series by JD Robb has a big fan-base... I presume that is lacking in this book...

rameau said...

I've read worse books and I'm using the Goodreads rating scale (though not their instructions for those ratings) which only has full stars from one to five or zero for unrated. I'd need to add to the negative scale to give this less.

rameau said...

I have the translation of the first book for that series on my tbr pile next to my bed. If I ever find the time between ebooks, that is.

rameau said...

And yes, you'd be correct. Proper use of the city New York as a character is lacking in this book.


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