by Teresa Thomas, contemporary (2007)
Liquid Silver Books, $6.20, ISBN 978-1-59578-338-7
The very lovely cover art of Teresa Thomas' The Adventures Of V gives me this impression that I would be getting a BDSM story but it turns out that this story is actually akin to the board game Clue. Our heroine, Mrs Patsy Crystal Lilly, checks into the Mitchell Parks Hotel, as does Mashal Verge. He's the V in the title, by the way. These two are our heroine and hero, respectively, while a gamut of secondary characters set up a murder mystery for our two main characters to work their brains over.
Because everyone has a secret or two, I believe I won't say too much about this story as the reader's enjoyment of it hinges considerably on the revelations that slowly come out into the open as the story progresses. Let me just say that The Adventures Of V aspires to be something more like an Agatha Christie story rather than a romance novel. Readers hoping for more romance, erotic or not, will probably be disappointed with this one since it's neither too erotic nor very romantic. I label this story as a contemporary romance, but given that the story makes references to telegrams rather than mobile phones or emails, I suspect that this story is set in this or the last century but not necessarily today.
Perhaps that is the biggest problem with this story - Ms Thomas is more focused on the more conceptual aspects of it to the point that the characters and various aspects of the plot remain underwritten. Crystal, especially, is a disappointment given that she turns out to be a passive and often apologetic character for someone with her past. I personally feel that the mystery eventually peters out into something quite mundane given all the effort the author has put into making this story as suspenseful and enigmatic as possible. Given that the author often obfuscates thing in a very obvious attempt to keep the reader at least two steps behind her characters, often by having her characters engage in opaque conversations that can be hair-pullingly frustrating in how they often reveal nothing but raise more questions instead, I find that her efforts often end up distancing me from the story rather than keeping me intrigued.
The Adventures Of V starts out for me a pretty interesting read, but I find that my interest in it begins to wane shortly after. There is a very artificial and self-indulgent quality to the story that I find mildly irritating. Nonetheless, I can't say that this book is dull or forgettable. I suppose that that is, in many ways, a good thing.
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