I was so excited about this series. When I read its blurb, it reminded me immediately of J.D. Robb‘s “In Death” series, which are my favorites. Better than James Patterson, better than the über predictable Dan Brown, J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts’ pen name) makes it worthwhile to buy and read her books every single time.
“Fatal Affair” had good bones in it, but the meat tasted sour.
Unfortunately, Marie Force‘s Fatal series started with this let-down. Entitled “Fatal Affair,” it’s the story of how Nick Cappuano and Detective Sergeant Sam Holland rekindled their once-in-a-lifetime love affair after a six-year forced hiatus, whilst Sam was investigating the murder of Cappuano’s boss, Senator John O’Connor. The story had good bones in it, but the meat tasted sour. I like my whodunit tales, just like anyone else who’s into this genre; I also really like romance stories, as obviously evidenced by the very existence of this book blog. Put them together, and ta-dah, match made in heaven, I say. Except when it’s badly written. When the story is more about an inappropriate romance between a homicide cop and her material witness than a showcase of the author’s firm grasp on how to suspend a reader’s disbelief, then the mystery-romance book takes a drastic turn for the worst.
Let me insert here that I read the prequel novella, “One Night With You,” before diving into the Fatal Affair. I thought that “One Night” was written better than “Affair.” I suspect that it’s probably because “One Night” was written 5 years after “Affair” was published, so the author must have had time to adjust (?) and tweak.
Also, I really couldn’t help the comparison between the “In Death” series and this one. While there are distinct differences, the gist of both stories remain the same. I suppose the main problem I have with “Fatal” is that Sam Holland doesn’t seem like she’s that good at her job. I have a tendency to agree with her semi-villainous former lieutenant – she’s coddled and positively favored by her some higher-ups in the fictional version of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, as she’s the daughter of a beloved and celebrated police chief. She didn’t solve the murder of the senator. The murderer literally knocked on the door of a room she was in. The real murderer wasn’t even in her radar, at all. Great detecting, right? Sheesh. She gets the credit, though, because she is the heroine of the book/series.
There were also so many unnecessary dramas within the story that made Sam an imbecile, in my eyes. First: why couldn’t she tell that her ex-husband, Peter, was a psycho? Her civilian sister Angela could in the prequel novella. Sam’s gut instincts, not just as a cop, but merely as a highly urbanized woman who’s lived in the city all her life, seriously need fine-tuning (read: a good strong thwack up in the head). Second: the Johnson case where she was involved in the killing of a child. After that traumatic experience, she was still assigned as lead detective on an extremely high-profile case, even before the case about the police raid, shoot-out, and ensuing unintended manslaughter still hasn’t been resolved. All I can say is – thank goodness this is fiction, because if it were real, social media would completely blow up about Holland’s assignment to the O’Connor case.
I’m just hoping the succeeding books in the series are better than this. My pledge: I’ll try harder to suspend my disbelief, since I already bought the damned books. Sigh. I need a book-break.