The Summerland
by TL Schaefer, contemporary (2000)
Atlantic Bridge, $5.00, ISBN 0-9706913-0-0


TL Schaefer has a good idea, but unfortunately the writing style doesn't engage me at all. We have dead bodies everywhere in Mariposa County, a coven of witches, and a missing blonde who probably has $500,000 with her. Sheriff Bill Ashton isn't having a good day. Arden Jones is a Air Force Public Relations officer who wants to find her missing sister. All these seemingly unrelated pieces of a puzzle with fit together to form a big picture, but I don't find any of the pieces interesting.

I won't go into the plot - I'll let readers have fun with that one. What I'll say is this: the author seems to be covering too much ground without succeeding in making me care for any of her subplots. The hero is just there, the heroine is there with him - or not, I can't really work up any concern - and everything is just there. There's no focus. Characters come, they go, and there doesn't seem to be any ripple in the story caused by their presence. Likewise, there is no detectable change in pace or tension in this story. A good suspense story needs build-up, but in The Summerland, the build-up is absent. The pace never changes.

It's harder for me to enjoy this book because I really like some of the ideas that go into the story. If the author has been more successful in engaging me in her story - instead of just letting me sit in the sidebench and just watch nonchalantly - The Summerland will be a more enjoyable experience.

Rating: 53


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