Playing With Fire
by Judith Rochelle, contemporary (2007)
Triskelion Publishing, $2.99, ISBN 1-60186-091-9
Playing With Fire sees Cassie Fitzgerald returning to her hometown of Stoneham, Texas, to see to her mother's funeral. She is not to keen to come home because she and her mother were never close and also because the reason she left Stoneham in the first place six years ago was because Cole Martin married her sister Diane a week after taking Cassie's virginity. But now that she's back in town, she meets Cole again who tells her that he only married Diane because she was pregnant with his kid. I'm sure you can more or less predict what will happen from this point. Diane was the slut, Cole was the good guy, Cassie's already in bed with him before Diane turns out to be the bad one, and oh, our hero and heroine solve the mystery of Diane's murder, if only to exonerate Cole and give Diane some lip service about posthumous justice even her reputation is already down the drain at that point.
Judith Rochelle writes a clean and readable story here but with Playing With Fire being so predictable and formulaic, I wish I can say that there is something more to this story, but I can't. Cassie is pretty sensible at times but more often than not, she comes off as a neurotic person who cannot move on from Cole's betrayal for six years. Cole is a pretty typical bad boy hero. The mystery is solved thanks a timely diary that contains the necessary information to nail the bad guys and any information not provided is provided by the bad guys during the predictable stand-off chit-chat session.
Playing With Fire is a well-written tale, but it's also a predictable story that doesn't deviate too much from the formula. Hopefully Ms Rochelle will come up with something less generic for her next effort.
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