Fatal Cut by Cathryn Grant
I received a complimentary copy of this book to review.
Sad to say, I did not like it. The writing is not bad per se, but only in regards to technical skill. The pacing is quite possibly the worst I have ever seen. That’s especially problematic for a novella.
The story begins with a passable hook, which is immediately–and repeatedly!–treated as inconsequential, then forgotten for the rest of the chapter. The main character, Madison Keith, found a corpse at the church she works at. She puts off expanding upon the hook multiple times, in ways that amount to, “I know you wanna hear about that corpse, but first let me talk about something utterly irrelevant.”
Which she does. The majority of the first chapter is Madison droning on and on about meaningless drivel. It read as if the author was trying to include all of her character notes as soon and as completely as possible, rather than developing the character throughout the story.
Madison did not endear herself to me as a reader. Frankly, I wanted to strangle her. I found her to be boring, self-obssessed, and smugly judgmental. And yet so oppressively bland that one might prefer hanging out with a bowl of tapioca. And she never gets any better.
The other characters fare no better. The worst was Kate. Never mind her actual personality. I hate to be told or consciously manipulated into feeling a certain way about a character, and any time even the subject of Kate came up, Madison did her obnoxious best to convince me that Kate is awful, really, but Madison is too mellow and great to really dislike her. Ugh.
The beginning so bogged down the experience that I found myself mostly skimming through the rest. I could not find much to engage me after the first chapter. Especially since she does not actually bring up the corpse again until chapter eleven. The last chapter. And long before that point, any reader will have realised that there is no mystery and there never was. The paranormal elements feel tacked on and insignificant–token at best. I barely noticed when I had finished reading.
The whole thing reads like stream of consciousness, never having moved beyond a first draft.