Tuesday, September 08, 2009

You've got Blackmail by Rachel Wright

I hesitantly picked up this book because the plot seemed sketchy. Hoping for the best, I was let down because it took about 100 pages to get semi-interesting and I really didn't care about any of the characters.

This story basically has two plots: Lauren (Loz) fearing for her life because Tonya wants to beat her up and Lauren trying to figure out who is trying to blackmail her teacher (this plot doesn't really begin until page 111 and this is really the only interesting part). In the midst of avoiding Tonya, Lauren suspects her mother might be dating her teacher (the one who ends up being blackmailed), a fact she isn't too keen on because she doesn't like said teacher. The Tonya story at first is a bit overdone, but then I can see how it's used to set up key suspects in the bigger story. The only funny part comes at the end of the novel in a form of payback (but I can't help but wonder how Tonya is going to react when the truth comes out, with or without the blackmail video...). And then there's this whole plot line about how she likes a fellow student and hates her sister, but that just seems to be in the story to make Lauren seem like a normal teenager.

This book did not hold my attention until the actual blackmail plot began, and then it felt like it was over too fast. All of the pieces fell into place and it was just a matter of time before he got caught. As for the Tonya story, while - I like said it created a "red herring" for a case of burglary - it was extremely overdone. I didn't care and part of me almost wanted Lauren to get beat up just so that the story could move on. I didn't care for any of the character. Lauren had too many friends and, while it's nice to see she's popular, the only friend who was developed was Dex, so Ems, Tasha and whoever else there was didn't really matter (see, I can't even remember her name). They weren't developed and just melted into each other and the other names that were thrown around. At the same time, one reason I though it was hard to connect to this novel was because it takes place in England, with plenty of English culture references. I have no idea who Hercule Poirot and the constant exclamations to Nora (not a character in the novel) were somewhat annoying.

I forced myself to finish the book and not give up on it - partly because I feel bad about not finishing novels, I keep hoping it will improve. While it did get better, I don't know that it was a big enough payoff to recommend the book.

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