Devil May Care

15799052Pale Horses by Jassy Mackenzie
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Jade de Jong reminded me of a dude. Let me just put that out there right now, so you’re not left wondering later, and just in case you don’t like chicks that act like dudes. Me, I have no strong reservations on the matter, and I’m all for equal opportunity. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that strong women…and men are interesting to me. Because it’s not easy to perfect the bad*ss lassiez faire attitude with a devil may care grin plastered on your face.

But Jade pulls it off. And she does it with a smoking body and smoking attitude. She’s not afraid of anyone, and she’s certainly not afraid to throw herself in the line of fire. David Patel is the yin to her yang, and it works. It really, really does.

The South African setting with the swan dive courtesy of Sonet Meintjies off the sixty-five story Sandton skyscraper was a new twist to me in the eventful death arena, and I must say I rather enjoyed the unique approach, not necessarily the demise of said individual.

I enjoyed the characters, the storyline, and the mystery fulfilled my attention, but I didn’t feel like I was a stock car on the last lap of the track executing a mad dash to the checkered flag. Instead, I’d call it heightened curiosity without ever becoming completely immersed in PALE HORSES. But if unique deaths and unique settings are your thing, you’ll find plenty of both here.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Blue-Collared Read

9519750Takeover by Lisa Black
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

What really stuck out in my mind more than anything else as I was reading—and even now as I sort through my thoughts as I purge my brain and write this review—was the setting. The detail and painstaking care with which Lisa Black conveyed Cleveland led me to believe she had either lived there or had done an extensive amount of research on the city. So finding out she was a Cleveland native who felt like she had been violently and dramatically uprooted and shoved in the direction of Cape Coral, FL didn’t surprise me nearly as much as it could have. If you like setting to become a minor character in your reading material, and you hold a certain place in your heart for Cleveland, then you’ll probably enjoy this one.

Whether I realized it or not—and to be perfectly honest I hadn’t given it much thought before reading TAKEOVER and writing this review—I actually hold a place in my heart for Cleveland and similar industrial cities. Growing up an hour and a half south of Pittsburgh, I had no problem taking the blue-collar mentality to heart, and I like to think I still harbor a bit of that tendency even now. And this almost sounds sacrilegious with Pittsburgh always looming on my horizon, but I actually like Cleveland, as long as it’s not the middle of winter. More so than other cities I’ve seen, there seems to be a vast and distinct contrast between the old and the new. That dichotomy has always given it a bit of a pop, and that burst of energy is felt throughout this novel, seeping through every fiber of every page.

But this novel isn’t all blue collared shirts and punch clocks, it causes serious men to face serious consequences for their actions, and the ticking clock looms like an albatross in the background, as various deadlines are put in place. And that’s where the novel strayed for me a bit, as it felt, at times, like a paint-by-the-numbers hostage situation with rising tension and violent interludes.

I ended up racing to the end of this book, not because I had to finish it, but because I needed to finish it, so I could abruptly shift my focus to the next novel looming on my Kindle. The novel felt a bit too formulaic for my tastes. Moving to the sunshine once again, there’s a linebacker crushing twist waiting for you at the end, if you stick around long enough to find it.