Monday, August 30, 2010

Negative Image By Vicki Delany

Negative Image: A Constable Molly Smith Novel

Negative Image: A Constable Molly Smith Novel
Paperback 250 pgs
Poisenwood Press
Netgalley Edition

Amazon Blurb -

As the mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia, shakes off a long hard winter, famous photographer Rudolph Steiner arrives to do a feature on mountain tourism. Steiner is accompanied by his assistant and sexy young wife, but he has another reason for the visit: to reconnect with the woman who left him twenty-five years ago to marry another man.

Twenty-five years ago she was young, beautiful, naïve, and an internationally known supermodel. Today Eliza Winters is no longer young, and definitely not naïve, but still beautiful and married to Trafalgar City Police Sergeant John Winters.

When Steiner is found dead in his luxury hotel room, shot once in the back of the head, suspicion falls upon Eliza. John Winters is forced into the most difficult decision of his life: loyalty to his job or to his wife. As the RCMP dig into the secrets of both Steiner and Eliza, John Winters slowly comes to realize that he doesn’t know the woman to whom he has been married for twenty-five years as well as he thought he did.

Unable to help the Sergeant, Constable Molly Smith has her own troubles: a series of B&Es has the peaceful town in an uproar, her overprotective Mountie boyfriend is fighting with her colleagues, and a vengeful stalker is watching her every move. When tragedy strikes at the heart of her own family, Molly can’t even turn to her mother, Lucky, for help.

A murder has taken place in this picturesque quiet town and Sgt. John Winters wife of over 20 years, Eliza is the prime suspect.  Why?  The victim was a fashion photographer and she was a supermodel at one time,  once engaged to him, and possibly one of the last people to see him alive.  John gets ripped off the case due to conflict of interest, and just handles the whole situation with his wife terribly.  You really feel bad for her because of his behavior.  The special team is called in and Mountie Sgt. Dick Madison is a real s.o.b just going right after Eliza without considering the significantly younger new wife, nor the disgruntled assistant.  Sadly he has an agenda stemming from his own personal drama which clouds his own views.   In the meantime there is a string of break ins happening and Sgt. Winters along with Molly Smith tag team on that front.  Molly isn't too happy with having to go over this detail, feeling re-questioning neighbors is a waste of time.  She's also dealing with her father in the hospital awaiting surgery for his hip that he broke in a fall, and the harassment of an abuser.  Her boyfriend Adam got into a fight with a retired cop who was badmouthing her and she isn't to happy with any of that either.  Meredith Morgenstern is a reporter with dreams of the big time and she views this murder as her ticket to the big show.  She enjoys getting under the skin of the police trying to get her break.  Her maneuvering and pushiness gives the story a nice zing.  I was truly guessing all the way to the end, and I love that in a mystery!

Let me  say I liked the book.  It has great bones.  The first chapter hooks you right out of the gate.  The characters are very likable, with a wonderful supporting cast, side characters and your resident haters.  It is an easy mystery, meaning there isn't horrific violence or gore, which was fine for me even though  I do enjoy it a bit on the rough side.  Ms. Delany kept the pace up so there was no boredom.  All very big pluses.

The down side.  It's called Constable Molly Smith novel, and I have to be honest, I thought Sgt. John Winters was the lead.  Just did not get the vibe that Molly was the protagonist here.  She comes off as a supporting character along with Detective Ray Lopez.  The blurb states Molly is unable to help Sgt. Winters, I think she's way to green to even come close to a murder case. I also had a hard time with way too many side stories happening at one time.  While I feel for Molly dealing with her dad, her boyfriend and the harassment, it was all way to much at once.  If this is how the author is trying to make her the lead, it didn't work.   At every turn there was another story going on.  Snippets of Molly's mom thinking about the dad, some town drama, the robberies, the murder, it was a hodgepodge of events pinging off of each other.

That said,  I did enjoy reading it and I'll give it 3 cannoli's


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