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Once Wicked Always Dead: 07/21/11

cover art

Once Wicked Always Dead by T. Marie Benchley tries to be a thriller and ends up being a train wreck. It has strange pacing issues, characters acting without understandable motivation and a whole cast of stereotypes.

Molly Madison's parents are killed en route to her home and her husband is carrying on a homosexual affair. She needs some time off and decides to head home to her parents' ranch in Montana. It's there that she realizes she's being stalked by serial killer. While Molly is trying to cope with her life being in turmoil, she begins to fall in lust with Clayton the ranch foreman.

Here's where things start to fall to pieces; the book can't decide if it's a romance or a thriller. Nor can does it know how to balance the tropes of the two genres. The clashing motifs and changes of tone left me with literary whiplash.

Then there's the serial killer stalker. While Red John might be interesting plot device in The Mentalist the show gets away with it by not making every mystery relate directly to his crimes. But in a book with only one crime that's fighting for precious pages with a marriage gone bad and hot cowboy sex, a stalker serial killer is silly and not in a good way.

One star

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Thursday, July, 21, 2011 at 23:58:10


Too bad, I really liked this one. We have a difference of opinion on this one. I would not at all call it a train wreck. That seemed really harsh. It wasn't banged outta the park, but it was tolerable.

Comment #2: Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 11:31:35


I've been sitting on this review for about 10 months. I don't typically post such negative reviews. I made it about half way through it before I skim / skipped to the end. I showed it to friends in my book swapping club and none of them made it past the first chapter.

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