Monday, 8 April 2013

Clueless in High Heels... Review of Spying In High Heels by Gemma Haliday [kindle and paperback]

28 year old Maddie Springer has a problem - she lives in a tiny apartment, has a poor paying job... and she thinks that she might be pregnant.

She has only been dating her boyfriend Richard for a few months, so has no idea what to do and is terrified to tell him. However she finds that she has some extra time to build up to discussing the dilemma with him - Richard is a lawyer and one of his client's, and his $20 million fortune, have vanished and Richard has vanished right along with them. It doesn't look good for Richard and the police are soon on the hunt. Then the dead bodies start turning up...

Maddie clings to her belief that Richard is innocent of all charges and is simply in hiding as he witnessed something he shouldn't have, and is now afraid for his life. As she could be about to start a family with him, she decides to track him down before taking a pregnancy test and deciding what to do if there is indeed a baby on the way. Maddie is scared and confused enough already, so an instant attraction to Detective Jack Ramirez is bound to add a few more fireworks into the situation.

I knew straightaway that I wasn't going to enjoy SPYING IN HIGH HEELS; the fact that the entire story is centered around Maddie's need to find Richard, because she needs him by her side to take a pregnancy test is just a non-starter. Does she need his guidance to pee on a stick or something? There aren't many reasonable ways to have someone bury their head firmly in the sand over time sensitive issues whilst repeating the same thing over and over, without me wanting to smack them over the head. I don't feel that the author even attempted to make Maddie's delaying tactics sound semi reasonable, choosing to make Maddie cute and funny [read as childish airhead] instead; such as her throwing a home pregnancy kit on the floor and jumping on it, then seeming surprised that it has been crushed and is now unusable. You laughing yet?

The other problem I had with the book is that Maddie doesn't investigate anything of importance and get answers to the mystery herself. Instead she literally stalks Jack as he launches his investigation [in her bright red jeep], then later drags her best friend into the mess, and line of fire, to do most of the work for her. When she does think of something independently she thinks of it way too late, then is overly impressed every time she discovers that Jack [the lead investigator] had already done whatever gem of investigative wisdom she had belatedly thought of. This is meant as a ongoing gag, but it winds me up, instead of bringing on the lols.

When Jack tells Maddie to stop her meddling because she could ruin the police investigation and/or alert the perpetrators, she pouts, whines and uses the excuse that Jack is ruining her life, by trying to put away the father of her 'maybe baby', to do whatever she wants. It is so irritating. She even gets mad with Jack for not telling her information he has gained during the police investigation - as if he's supposed to share what he finds with her.

One more whine? When I read books which have a strong romantic element in them, then I want to see some damn chemistry. Richard is a dead horse who barely features here, and with Jack the only physical contact I can realistically see between him and Maddie involves him dragging her of into a jail cell. Jack isn't too bad as a character, but the way he discusses a open homicide investigation with Maddie is so unrealistic - why couldn't the author take a bit more time to think of other way to put the needed information across to the lead in a more engaging way?

We don't spend enough time with the other secondary characters, for me to be able to say if I like them or not. None of them stood out to me though, in either a good or bad way.

Finally: I wouldn't say that the author is completely untalented, but she is rather sloppy here. The length of time Callie has been dating Richard changes, the day of her mother's upcoming bachelorette party and wedding changes, private businesses are unrealistically open and staffed over weekends and there are numerous other errors scattered throughout the book.

This was a painfully slow read (though this may be because I felt the need to write each complaint on GoodReads as soon as I found something I didn't like) - the actual mystery is lacking, in addition to the romance and humour. SPYING IN HIGH HEELS just reads as a series of unlikely coincidences, with someone who stumbles across clues and situations by accident as she clearly doesn't have a brain to try and investigate with. Also; the killer was obvious from the first scene they were in, because the author's attempts to toss in a red herring, by trying to draw attention to a suspicious character, just throws a spotlight over the guilty party.

I've since read the second book in the series [Killer In High Heels], to see if the series showed any signs of improvement, and that was nearly as painful as this book. I bought the 5 volume book set on a whim when I bought my kindle and have also collected the author's Hollywood Headlines series when they were free, but I've yet to bother read them, and am tempted to just delete everything now and save myself from any further unpleasantness.

If you want a light read, which focuses on romance, then you may like SPYING IN HIGH HEELS more then I did. If you have a Kindle, then it won't cost a lot to try - and you can always get a refund if you decide it's not for you [I always forget this, until I've had the books for over one week]. The book, and series as a whole, has won many awards, and most of the customer reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are 4 and 5 stars, so there is an audience out there.

£0.77 - kindle edition
[keep it on your wishlist to keep an eye on the price, as it regularly promoted as a free book]

£6.72 - paperback

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