Archive for the ‘Asbestos’ Category

I’ll readily admit, I’m betwixt and between on this one. BetrayedWe all like to get involved with the characters in a book and in a series, such as Scottoline’s Rosato & Associates, there are a few we really like such as Judy Carrier, the non-conformist of the bunch. We like to see them grow and change over time. We like to get into their personal lives, not just the legal or mystery aspect. But sometimes, the personal life intrudes too much, as it did in Betrayed (at least for me), especially when the mystery portion isn’t all that compelling.

Judy has just received some shocking news–her Aunt Barb has breast cancer and is undergoing a mastectomy in two days. She’s kept it a secret from Judy and her mother, Delia. Judy races to her home. Delia has already flown in from the West Coast. When she arrives, she meets Aunt Barb’s best friend, Iris Juarez, an undocumented Mexican who does chores for Barb and gardens with her. Iris is just leaving for another job.

Later that evening, the police knock on Barb’s door with the sad news that Iris had an apparent heart attack while driving and died at the side of the road. Barb is devastated. Avid gardeners both (Iris and Barb), Barb decides to plant a rose in Iris’ memory and asks Judy to go into the garage to find the bush that she and Iris were going to plant that weekend. Ever the curious lawyer, Judy stumbles across two coolers and looking inside one finds a significant amount of money—later determined to be almost $10,000. Of course, Judy thinks/realizes that Iris’s death and the money are related, leading to, in this reader’s humble opinion, a truly unbelievable, unrealistic story.

So, why am I betwixt and between? Because towards the end there were some touching family related scenes between mother and daughter. And those few pages were emotional enough to salvage what otherwise was an average tale.

A side plot concerns new business the firm received–determining settlement amounts for victims of asbestos. Unfortunately, they are on the manufacturer’s side, not the victims’, thus their goal is to minimize damage payments. Since Judy is concerned about her aunt and whether she will survive surgery and possible radiation, determining the ‘value of human life’ is not something Judy wants to do, is totally against the firm taking the business and her actually handling the settlements. While this would have been a more compelling story, it is wrapped up way too easily and totally unsatisfactorily, in my opinion.

As I said when reviewing The Burning Room by Michael Connolly, I think series authors get tired. There’s an expectation of a new book every 12 – 18 months, so they write but their enthusiasm wanes and that’s how I felt about Betrayed. I just didn’t feel any author enthusiasm.

Let me close by saying that if you think I’m getting persnickety in my old age and nothing will please me, I have read some great mysteries in the past year. Gripping stories. Great writing. Endearing characters. They are out there. Maybe just not from the old tried and true authors we’ve been reading for years. (Sermon over.)

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