Monday, February 17, 2014

The Red Queen Dies


This book was recommended by my local library and it sounded interesting with the "Alice in Wonderland" inspired crime. It is essentially a detective novel that takes place in 2019 where the occurring theme of "Big Brother" is watching runs amuck. Bailey has created a very strong female leading detective that is working very hard to catch a serial killer that may have ties to the last victim, a Broadway star know as "the Red Queen".

Even with all of the intrigue, this book took me several days to really get into it. Especially since it started off with a press conference, which was informative, but dull. I didn't have any immediate excitement about reading the book and was concerned that it would not be eventful. However, I will say that Bailey has done a very good job a weaving a relatively okay crime tale that has some good twists and turns that the average reader may not catch on to right away. Her main characters were fairly fleshed out and they seemed like they could be real people, which for me is one of the things I need to become invested in the plot.

Outside of this though, there were several things that got in the way and made it a slower read for me. First off, there was the abbreviation "ORB", which I am not entirely sure what it stands for. It seems like it is a smart tablet/phone-like device that people are able to order/pay for items at coffee shops along with answering calls or viewing e-mail. It was not fully explained, so I envisioned it as a smarter version of the most recent smart phone...confused? In the "Author's Notes" section of the book, Bailey suggests going to her website for further explanations for the technology, history, etc. Although that was very nice of her to offer, I would much rather have been shown this in the novel then going the distance to research it. Kind of takes the fun out of reading the book and being transported somewhere new.

There were also too many twists to the storyline that made it seem a little ridiculous at the end with respect to tying it in to "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Wizard of Oz". I wish perhaps some of that would have been cut out and a little more focus could have been given to the crimes at hand. The idea was sound, but just not well executed which made the overall readability of the book suffer.

Bailey also had a few side stories added in and I am not certain what purpose they were meant to serve. The first had to do with another case that a few detectives were working, but it didn't really tie in to the serial case that was the main story and seemed a little erroneous. Then there were several scenes in which one character was meeting with another or speaking with another on their ORB, but the identity of the other individual was never revealed. If these scenes had had an impact with respect to the story, I would have understood why they were there. But they felt like they were added in only to show that this book would be part of a series and there were still much more to come with regards to the characters in the plot.

The other thing that bothered me was the fact the book had many editing issues. It has become a pet-peeve of mine now that authors do not seem to be proof reading their manuscripts or investing in a good copy editor. There were dialogue sequences that were missing quotations. Many areas had grammatical errors that should have been caught. I was a little disappointed in that.

Overall, the book was okay. It started out slow, but in the end it made for a good story. If you can overlook some of the editing issues and wade through the extra information that was not needed, you would enjoy this book because it does have a good crime story underneath all of that. However, if you are unable to do any of that and need a story that builds from that first sentence on, then you may want to skip this one.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

I borrowed this book from my local library; I was not asked to do a review of this book.

The image was taken from Good Reads.

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