1.0 on the Masq Scale. Double Mayhem by Sam Berretti. #mystery #bookreview

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Double Mayhem

(A Seekers Mystery)

Written by Sam Berretti

Genre: Mystery

Book Synopsis

They say for every person in the world there is a twin. For Doris Watson, that simple wisdom becomes a nightmare reality that threatens her and the ones she’s come to love. An ex-military engineer who leads a quiet life as an appliance designer, she is recruited to perform one uncomplicated task: take a handoff of secret plans from a Chinese agent who believes she is someone else. She accepts the assignment and the only person she can blame is herself. She opened the door. She said yes.

Her lonely existence is shattered as headstrong men cross her path. Dangerous men with dangerous needs. Suddenly embroiled in mob killings, espionage, and police investigations, she has become a billion-dollar target of sadistic crooks, the FBI, the NSA, and her psychotic look-alike. It is up to her to protect herself and the mysterious child who has been thrust into her life.

No one is who they appear to be. No one is telling the truth, because the truth can make you dead. Forced to use all her training and wits, she must find a way to survive. Forced to uncover the secrets of her childhood, she must face a new reality. Some days you just shouldn’t answer the door.

Barbara Garren's Review

Double Mayhem by Sam Berretti was listed as a mystery, and I have to say it remained one throughout the entire novel. There’s quite a confusing mash-up of wanna-be romance, paranormal, Noir and espionage/thriller, without sufficient depth or adequate writing to back it up.

Doris Watson is a twenty-seven year old former Marine. She left the Corps and became an engineer who designs appliances. I really wanted to like Doris. I really wanted to learn why she is the way she is, but all I got were snippets of information stuffed in place to carry the action in the current scene. Doris is an amalgam of many things but you never get deep enough to understand or empathize with her. And that’s too bad, because she could be an amazing, kick-ass female protagonist with a heavy agenda that would carry the lengthier bits of detail and dialogue.

Doris is accompanied by a host of other characters, some believable, some likeable, some not. Again, none of the characters are sufficiently detailed for you to invest in, emotionally. The one character I did find myself rooting for is Della Jamay Charboneau, but her mere presence highlights another huge problem: the characters are so stereo-typed, it was hard to see past the type-casting. And if the reader doesn’t care about the characters, why would they continue reading?

The Point of View was jumpy and inconsistent, the dialogue was stilted and the Pop-culture references were seriously dated, which added to the Noir flavor, but not consistently enough to allow you to sink in and enjoy yourself. There were endless monologues and dialogues that seemed to have no purpose other than to fill the page, including one paragraph that extended over two pages. And then there was the zip-tie incident.

It’s unlikely, in this day and age, that anyone over the age of eight is unfamiliar with a zip-tie, yet the author felt it necessary to take an entire paragraph and explain, in minute detail, what a zip-tie is and how it is used.

By this point, I felt like I was reading this book as punishment. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer. Maybe I read too many classics as a kid. Maybe I’m just plain mean, but it was a chore to get to the end of this book.

It’s a shame. The premise had me excited. If the author had stuck to his main theme, kept the hocus-pocus (crows used to delay an agent so she spots the bad guys going in?) and worked on refining the basic instruments of prose, it would be a much more enjoyable read. I believe he could have done an amazing job writing this as Noir, as his dialogue and the overall flavor of the book really felt like a good fit for the genre. As it is, and because there were so many basic, structural issues, I can barely manage a 1 on the Masq Scale.

Review Disclaimer: Book provided in exchange for an honest review.

Content Disclaimer: Marked mature due to violence and sex.

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