Dead Locked, A Mystery Novel
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Imogen Bell dishes publicity for a team of explorers, and she just can't resist a good pirate tale. So when her boss is murdered, Imogen dares to defy her anti-lore boyfriend and joins forces with his nemesis in a hunt to find treasure worth killing for. If she doesn't want to end up in Davy Jones' Locker, Imogen must trust the clues of a dead man and crack open a centuries-old mystery.
Not as good as Cliffhanger
This is the second Amy Saunders book I have read, and I didn’t realize until I finished it that this one was the first book she wrote. It is very good as a first effort, although saying that sounds very patronizing. Especially when coming from someone who doesn’t write.
Dead Locked starts with a murder, and then jumps back and forth in time, in reference to the murder. Back two weeks, forward one week, back two days, forward two weeks, etc. Instead of sending us down a clear path to the Whodunit, the author is spinning the tale like one winds a ball of yarn. It is an admirable effort but she does not yet have the writing skills to pull it off. The chapters are headed with the calendar date and the time reference to the murder, but short of the reader plotting the events on a piece of paper to keep them in chronological order it is tough to keep the relationships between incidents straight. The build-up to the reveal is lost in the mess.
It reads like the story was written in a straight path, and then the author chopped it up to make the book more interesting. We see people in one setting at the beginning of the book, then actually meet them two weeks earlier, in the middle of the book. Chopping up the book is one thing, but the author didn’t bridge the gaps created by the chopping to keep the reader in the loop. Rather than being drawn into the drama and energy of the characters’ lives I felt like an outsider.
The protagonist - Imogen - is a member of a marine archaeology team that works on recovering artifacts from sunken ships. There are four other members of the team, but their jobs and relationships to each other are only vaguely described, as are their physical looks. I visualize stories as I read them and this book was very difficult to visualize. Odd details are shared - we know Imogen likes the color pink - yet other, more relevant information is withheld. It seems like Imogen is in a relationship with one of the other team members, but as there is practically no physical contact between the two it is hard to tell.
The murder mystery concept is good, although if the reader is paying attention you can figure it out quite early in the book. The characters are likable and relatable, and I can’t help feeling that their story would’ve been better told in a straight path. It is unfortunate, because if the author had chosen the traditional beginning to end way of storytelling this could have been a great book.
I would recommend this author, but perhaps not this particular book.
- Category: Women Sleuths
- Published: Nov 10, 2010
- Publisher: Amy Saunders
- Seller: Smashwords
- Print Length: 244 Pages
- Language: English