Shattered Secrets by Karen Harper
I’ve decided that when I’ve spent days (and sometimes weeks… because DNFs tend to take a lot more time) reading a book and have to give up on it, I want to give a quick explanation why. So welcome to what I’m calling a DNF report. It’s not a real book review but a quick report of why I had to call it quits and the time of death.
Series: Cold Creek #1
Published by Mira on August 26, 2014
Genres: Romance, Suspense
Every town has its secrets…
Returning to Cold Creek, Ohio, is an act of courage for Tess Lockwood. Abducted and held captive as a young girl, she is unable to remember anything about the crime that destroyed her childhood and tore her family apart. Now a grown woman with a bright future, she is certain she has put the past behind her. But when she inherits the family home, Tess must confront the demons that still haunt her and the town of Cold Creek.
Gabe McCord has always blamed himself for what happened to Tess. He had been a teenager when she was snatched from the group of children he was responsible for watching. Now Gabe has taken on the role of sheriff and hopes to shed new light on the cold case, especially given his growing feelings for Tess.
Tess isn't ready to recall what happened to her, and she has no intention of digging up any details that might remind her of the truth. But when another child in the town goes missing, she's certain it's related to her return to Cold Creek. Together,Tess and Gabe will have to work to unlock their painful memories in order to save another child and heal their damaged souls, for good…
Romantic Suspense is very hit and miss for me – and Shattered Secrets was a miss. It had lots of potential – the concept of someone who’s been kidnapped, escaped without any memories of what happened, and returning to the town where it happened when another child is kidnapped sounds like it should be gripping. For me, it just wasn’t.
I should note, however, that I probably would have finished the Shattered Secrets if I didn’t have access to others who read it (some who liked it and others who didn’t) and could tell me what happens. I did care – turned out I was right 🙂 – so the story was compelling. I just was thankful that I could cut to the chase without pushing through myself.
Why it didn’t work for me:
- The characters aren’t complete enough for me. They are one dimensional and their dialogue felt atrocious. The conversations don’t involve any natural back and forth.
- The flow is jarring. Much like the dialogue, there’s no flow. Take for example the first kiss, there’s no build up or anticipation – it just happened. And I had to pause and go, “wait, did they just kiss?”
- The cult. It could be this marvelously creepy element. Instead, its just weird. And even weirder, we’re in this town where kids are kidnapped and no ones looking seriously at the cult. Huh? Even if they aren’t it, we should so be suspecting them. But I so wasn’t.
There’s more very knit-picky specific plot elements that bug me (like Mr. Mean, for those that have read it) but I think you get the point. Shattered Secrets does have several good reviews and suspect its because there is a compelling, underlying story there.
But it didn’t work for me and I’m calling it.
Time of death: 50%