Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book: Glass Houses by Stella Cameron

I really wanted to like this book. I mean, it's Stella Cameron, right? To be fair, this was published twelve or so years ago, so this Kindle edition is just a reprint of a previously published book.

Perhaps most problematic for me (yes, I'm one of *those* people) was the bad formatting. Indentations in the middle of paragraphs, a systematic removal of periods at the ends of sentences, a lack of quotation marks where they were needed, and the occasional misused word. For me, all these factors together made this book difficult to read, and I felt let down to read a Stella Cameron story I didn't enjoy.

There are two main characters: Aiden, a New York City detective, and Olivia, an introverted British photographer. At first, the scenes written from the two points of view were properly separated. Around chapter two, the Americanisms and the Britishisms started running together, and sometimes Aiden thought in Britishisms and sometimes Olivia thought in Americanisms. This became unduly distracting.

Dialogue between Aiden and Olivia was sometimes stilted and awkward, and sometimes Olivia was uncharacteristically forceful or aggressive. In a scene toward the end of the book, Olivia's behavior was consistent with the growth of the character, and I cheered her on.

Olivia's parents were completely extraneous and could have been left out of the book entirely, except as references Olivia made in conversation. Otherwise, they should have been fleshed out more. Instead, they were tragically unfunny clueless parents that wasted a chapter of my time. Conversely, Boswell, a somewhat minor character, was the most appealing character in the entire book, and his unwavering fealty to his core self was a joy to read.

I knew how the bad guys were keeping tabs on Aiden and Olivia less than halfway through. I did not guess the logistics or the why, but I most definitely knew who. I was sometimes distracted trying to figure out why this person would betray them in this way, and that distraction took away from my immersion in the story as it unfolded.

Bottom line - the core story is good, but overall I had to try too hard to enjoy reading it. Your mileage may vary.