Untimely Death

Fred Yager, Author, Jan Yager, Joint Author
Fred Yager, Author, Jan Yager, Joint Author Hannacroix Creek Books $24.95 (308p) ISBN 978-1-889262-01-7
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Sloppy characterizations seemingly taken from low-grade romance tales blunt the effectiveness of this debut novel in the very early stages. Kimberly Stone is the too-pretty college lecturer whose best friend and colleague dies with a fake flower placed in her ear. As this poorly written book progresses, it's revealed that the dead woman, Joan Walsh, was pregnant, a devotee of rough sex and a bisexual. She had a fiance and a young admirer, both of whom are soon dead. Meanwhile, as if sensing the flimsiness of their tale, the authors load up on subplots. A wife beater is stalking his spouse at the shelter where Joan was conducting research; a third lecturer at the same college is murdered (sans flower); and it all makes life hard for cop Alan Blake, who is falling for Kimberly while trying to keep her alive. Near the end, too many stiffs show up and the real killer's motivations make little sense, even to Kimberly. There are plenty of fast turns, but the final destination doesn't justify them. With slipshod prose and suspect internal logic, Untimely Death is a less than auspicious debut for this husband-and-wife team. (Oct.)
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