Pampered to Death- a Jaine Austen Mystery
by Laura Levine
Rating: Shoot Your Editor
I’m still on my quest for a funny book. This one didn’t cut it. And I don’t think it was the author’s fault.
This author can write, no question. But she needs to be reined in. Her editor failed her. Her book is about as funny as a clown hitting me over the head with a rubber chicken. Hard rubber. There were too many cliches, too many cartoon characters, unrealistic plot points and major author intrusion. All of these could have been fixed.
The main character’s name is Jaine Austen. Cute. We get it. There’s even a Sir Lancelot. Cute. Yawn.
Too often, the author would yank me out of her story (and I was already looking for reasons not to read further, so this wasn’t a smart move) by talking to me directly with cutesy remarks like “I’ll spare you the details of the ghastly 300 calories posing as dinner…” or doing a book promo for her first novel “his way of thanking me for getting him off the hook for murder (a fascinating tale, which you can read all about in Death of a Trophy Wife, now available in paperback at all the usual places.)” I don’t want to be marketed by the author while I’m reading the author’s book. At the end of Chapter One, she announces there will be a murder. Thanks for the spoiler. Why not just call me on the phone if you want to talk to me directly?
This author loves to yank the reader’s chain. I didn’t need to be yanked out of an already questionable storyline, but she interrupted the forward momentum of the plot on several occasions by inserting annoying e-mails from her wacko parents about stuff that had nothing to do with the murder mystery, filled with ingratiating humor. Very irritating.
Jaine has an annoying habit of blurting out comebacks which are funny, but she doesn’t actually say them, she just thinks them. It would have been funnier if she’d said them out loud. At least she would have come off as a funny, quirky character. Still a cardboard one, but funnier.
The plot had more holes than Swiss cheese.
Jaine is miffed at her friend for sending her to a fat farm, but stays anyway, even though she’s constantly complaining about it. Newsflash: You can leave anytime.
If a B-list actress was murdered at a spa, the spa would be closed down immediately. The guests would be questioned, then released, and called back in if necessary.
But in this novel, the guests are told by the police they aren’t allowed to leave. Huh? They continue to use the spa, even though it’s now a crime scene. Has this editor never watched CSI? It’s a no brainer.
Jaine is almost drowned in a jacuzzi, but she still insists on staying to solve the murder. Why? No idea. Doesn’t tell the police. Why? No idea. She’s now approaching TSTL territory (a.k.a. Too Stupid To Live).
This book was described as ‘easy, light, and entertaining’ by a reviewer on Goodreads. Seriously? Is ‘easy and light’ really code for ‘unintelligent and poorly edited’?
I’ve had more entertainment with a piece of bubble wrap.