Publisher: Travels and Travails Publishing (1 Sept. 2014)
Print Length: 362 pages
This is an example of a potentially good idea ruined by the inadequacies of an author. There are so many annoyances that detract from the story. Where do I start?
Let's take the first chapter. Eighteen characters are mentioned in as many pages. To make things worse, within a few sentences of introducing a character, the likelihood is that they will be referred to by their nickname or formal title. Confused? Well, to stir the mess, the author also adds named products into the mix; Herman Miller chair, Gabriel Carter work, Annie's Place for homeless women, and more... After five minutes I was left wondering who the story was about, who were the important characters and who were bit players. Not a good start. But, don't expect any respite, a quick scan reveals that there are over sixty people named throughout.
Next, the storyline. This was weak in so many aspects. In places, it was contrived. For example, when you tracked down missing children, and you have a team of investigators and off-duty policemen standing by, and no threat of violence exists, surely you just surround the area and send in a couple of people to apprehend them? No, not if you inhabit the pages of this book. You wait twenty-four hours and concoct some feeble plan to distract the children on the street before you can collar them. The author doesn't even offer up a feeble excuse to explain this illogicality.
Researching police procedure is evidently not one of the author's strengths either. When a kidnapped victim is released from the clutches of ruthless thugs, the rescue involving multiple deaths and injuries, would you expect a Police Captain to allow the freed person to go on their way without so much as a second glance, but hey, "we'll need to talk with you more" sometime. Simply farcical!
And, if you're looking for plot surprises, don't rely on Tourist Trapped to deliver them. The twists (sic) were so hackneyed that they must have already been disentangled a myriad times by much better writers. If you've never seen a horror film, or never read a psychological thriller before, then you might be taken off-guard - but I doubt it.
Now to the dialogue. Often, this was ludicrous. When you're engaged in deadly combat, with bullets flying in all directions, and your assailant shouts "Bitch!" you are unlikely to reply "You need to expand your vocabulary... Bitch is so over used." Oh, correction, you might if you're James Bond and this is a tongue in cheek effort, but neither is true of Tourist Trapped. And, talking of James Bond, if you don't like constant wisecrack retorts then steer clear of anything enclosed within quotation marks. Feeble? Yes. But not as pathetic as being shot three times and then still hurrying out of a scene in despair because your love interest has been reunited with his estranged wife.
I don't like including spoilers in my reviews so I'll just give a flavour of the contorted plot and the many convoluted sub-plots. Amanda is a divorce attorney turned amateur sleuth who, of course, can accomplish so much more than the professionals engaged on investigating a kidnapping. Her love interest is Chad, only she sees many impediments to any proposed romance. Chad on the other hand, secretly adores Amanda (surprise, surprise), but he is inhibited from revealing his feelings because Amanda lavishly dispenses her affections elsewhere. Amanda's half-sister, who Amanda detests (another surprise) disappears while on vacation in Mexico and Amanda's father, who Amanda resents (my, the surprises are mounting up), persuades her to go investigate because Amanda's expertise(?) is the best chance of solving the mystery.
Did this storyline engage my emotions? At times I regretted having ever learned to read. Understand why I mentioned that the plot is contrived?
By the way, Amanda only seems to represent woman who have been wronged by their dastardly husbands. And Amanda's father has a wretched history of betraying those who love him. Then there is Amanda's romantic background, which naturally involves a cheating creep of a Don Juan. Not to mention the various sub-plots, all involving thugs and lowlife's of the male gender. Can you spot the common theme? Turned that on it's head and see if the premise doesn't yell out at you: "Sexist!"
Having expressed a few of my many reservations, I did detect a glimmer of promise hidden beneath flotsam and jetsam. If you're looking for a light read, and you're prepared to overlook the numerous flaws, you might derive a modicum of entertainment from this work. A word of warning though. Be prepared to finish the last word, of the last sentence, of the last paragraph only to find that you are left holding a multitude of loose ends. Yes, this book is the first in a series and you'll have to read the sequels to discover how it ends - only, as of August 2015, there is no sign of the second and third books in this trilogy hitting the shelves. Ho, hum...