1st Impressions

Kate Calloway, Author Naiad Press $11.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-56280-133-5
In the small Oregon lakeside community of Cedar Hills, Cassidy James is living a life of leisure thanks to her deceased lover Diane's considerable life insurance policy. At the urging of a friend who thinks it will give her something to do, Cass has been training as a private investigator. When Erica Trinidad, a sexy successful romance writer, breezes into town to find her lecherous uncle Walter dead and floating on Rainbow Lake, Cass is ready to take on her first case. With sensitive insight into small-town life and the workings of gossip, Calloway lays out an otherwise uncompelling mystery. While topics such as neo-Nazi teens and issues of intimacy after the death of a lover promise to be thought-provoking, they are handled here with tepid expediency. Most of the information about characters is given in the few lines preceding their introduction to the plot rather than woven into the fabric of the story. Neither the victims of the crime nor the perpetrators show much complexity or depth. And in an odd departure from the traditional literary PI, Cass promptly shares all of her leads with the local sheriff's office, which removes most of the suspense. Nothing is left to the readers' imagination. In fact, the intrigue seems to be a mere setting for the inevitable love scene between Cass and Erica, which, albeit brief, is well-crafted. First Impressions is the debut volume in a new mystery series. Subsequent volumes will hopefully offer more than picturesque backdrops and some fleeting insights into Cass's fear of intimacy. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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