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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Invisible Boy by Cornelia Read

Invisible Boy is the third book in the Madeline Dare series.  I didn't realize this, of course, when I pulled it off the shelf and don't really think it matters.  The story stands alone;  if interested, however, getting the previous books would fill in some of the background hinted at in the book.

The first couple of chapters almost lost me.  While I do enjoy witty repartee, the book opens with so much of it that you wonder if there is a story at all.  The heavy swearing and drinking was also a distraction.  Over use of wisecracks, cursing, and binge drinking becomes more than boring, it becomes annoying.

That said, the book does pick up when Madeline helps a friend and other volunteers clearing an overgrown, weed-ridden, historic cemetery.  Madeline discovers a tiny skeleton, one that has been dumped not buried.

I liked some of the wit and humor.  I liked that the focus remained in large part on the victim.  I liked Maddy Dare, her husband, sister, and friends.

 I didn't like over use of bad language.  Believe me, it isn't at all shocking; I've heard it all and said most of it myself.  When it bombards you like this book does, especially in the beginning, the only purpose it serves is distraction.

There aren't many surprises, the reader pretty much knows where things are leading.  The police procedure didn't seem real, and my goodness, I ought to know, having watched Law & Order for years!  Didn't like the subplot. The tempo was uneven.  Hated and didn't get the last chapter which was a flashback.

Sounds as if I hated the book, but I didn't.  I enjoyed it.  What do I know?  Would I seriously look for the two previous books?  No.  If someone handed me one of them, however, I'd be turning the pages. 

Fiction. Mystery/Crime. 2010.  418 pages.


  1. Looks like an interesting book.

    I get annoyed too when a book has overly bad language or graphic scenes and neither of these elements contribute to the work as a whole. (Though, I have read some books where I wouldn't remove a single curse word or shocking scene for fear of ruining the authenticity or message of the work.) I'll plow on through unnecessary language, but many readers will not. Sometimes books just turn away potential readers with language for no particular reason.

  2. Connie - If it serves a purpose or is incorporated sparsely, language doesn't bother me, but I don't want to notice it to the point that it distracts me. And you are right, it does turn away many potential readers.

  3. I hate that there is not some sort of universal publishing rule that the series a book belongs to AND what book in the series you have in your hand should be on the book clearly. It just makes sense to me!

  4. I read and reviewed this book last year. I just read over my review and remember that I liked it well enough, but not as much as the previous two books. Maddie is a little difficult to stomach for me - a little prickly and annoying. Wonder if the author has a #4 in the works?

  5. Kailana - It is usually less important in mysteries than in fantasy, but it really is nice to begin at the begging!

  6. Kay - I'll check out your review. I bet the author does have another one in the works!

  7. Unnecessary foul language is a definite turn off for me. Ditto for certain sex scenes. Not sure if you have read Water for Elephants, but the dwarf masturbating really grossed me out. Would have liked the book so much more if that scene had been cut...or if it was at least a little more vague.

  8. Lisa - I read this a couple of years ago and have completely forgotten that scene! Maybe I blocked it out!

  9. I so agree there are times I think swearing, violence and sex actually are important to a plot, but they're rare and often just a touch is enough to help define characterization and the rest should be cut.

    And, oh, how I wish publishers would make it obvious where a book falls in a series, as Kailana said. I often say I'm "not much of a series person" and that's one of the reasons. It used to not bother me to read a book from the middle of a series, but a lot of them don't stand alone well, these days.

  10. Nancy - I agree that just a touch is enough. I don't like feeling like a voyeur. Yet it seems that some authors believe that sex and violence sell the book.

    I've started in the middle of a series more times than at the beginning--