Friday, April 15, 2005

Book Review: Breaker's Reef by Terri Blackstock

Book ReviewI just finished reading Breaker's Reef, by Terri Blackstock. It's the fourth book in her "Cape Refuge" series. The book, and the series, is set on a small island in Georgia, with a small town police force, small town newspaper, and small town problems -- getting a taste of big town crime. Terri Blackstock is a former Harlequin Romance novelist who has heard the call of God and now uses her talent in the Christian fiction genre. I've never read any of her Harlequin Romance novels (none, in fact, are even listed on her website), but I have read most of the novels she's written since her conversion. She is an accomplished author and does a good job of telling her story and keeping the reader involved.

When I read a book -- especially a mystery (which is what most of
Terri Blackstock's books are), I'm constantly trying to solve the mystery as early as I possibly can. I think most readers of mysteries are that way. I picked out my perp early in Breaker's Reef and read on, looking for clues to convict him. The author planted several throughout the book, along with a few teasers to try to lure me away from my suspect. But I didn't give in. In most mysteries -- especially those that are part of a series -- you can usually count on the guilty party being someone new to town. Rarely will an author kill off one of their regular characters (unless, of course, you're reading Stephen King, who killed off the entire town of Castle Rock in Needful Things). There are a few new characters in Breaker's Reef, but only one who truly stands out as a suspect.

Maybe that's what had me fooled. Up to the very last chapter, he seemed to be the one (I won't spoil it by giving his name here -- you'll have to read the book yourself for that). But in the closing pages, the author throws a curveball (not a very creative one, I must say, but it did the trick nonetheless) and surprised even me. I've successfully picked out the killer in most of
Terri Blackstock's books, and felt a little cheated at the slight of hand that was pulled off at the end of this book to prove me wrong. I just don't believe an author should plant so much evidence throughout the story, only to make it all meaningless in the end.

I guess you'll have to read the book yourself to see what I'm talking about. Even with the disappointing ending, I still found the book an enjoyable read, and the teaser for her next book, Last Light, has me eagerly awaiting it's publication.

Read the book, read the series, and don't forget to check out two of her other compelling series: "Newpointe 911" and "Suncoast Chronicles".

And after you read them, tell me what you think.


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