It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a recent book I’ve really enjoyed, so to kick off a new week, this blog post will focus on my thoughts on my most favourite of recent reads: STILL LIFE by D.B. Kennison. From the same pub house as me, the book is a romantic crime/suspense and one well worth a read. In addition to my review, I’ve also invited D.B. Kennison herself along to the blog to get inside the mind that spawns such plots as the one in STILL LIFE. You’ll find that posted tomorrow, but for now, this is what I thought of STILL LIFE, the book.
I’ll start by saying I didn’t guess the end. That sounds stupid, but when you’re a writer, you tend to bend over backward trying to guess whodunit. Kennison weaves her tale well, leading you in circles upon circles to a place you hadn’t expected – and I liked that. I hate when the writer chooses to reveal the killer or it’s so obvious, any idiot who picks the book up halfway can guess. Trust me; that ain’t happ’ning here.
The basic plot is small town PI/real estate broker, Randi stumbles onto a corpse and ends up striking major friction with the big-city-turned-small-town detective who came to Podunkville to escape homicide. Suffice it to say, he isn’t happy with the woman who pulls him back in. A series of events create hilarious tension between them, as well as their own strong personalities…until they can’t fight their mutual attraction anymore.
The start reminded me of a black and white comic caper, with its banter and PI sneakiness and the physical comedy. This pops up occasionally throughout the book, as well as the aforementioned hilarious banter between Randi and anyone she comes into contact with – especially her fantastic sidekick who I adored – and several descriptions in the book that Kennison writes so humerously, you can’t help but smile. This humour is spliced with gritty fact, real crime details woven in so you understand procedure and experience some of the horror of finding a body. I found the crime details really interesting – it’s clear Kennison has researched the subject thoroughly, and this helps bring the book to another level. I really believed what was happening in the pages.
In addition to it being interesting and funny and gritty, it’s Also. Very. Sexy. Like, fan yourself sexy. Like, open the window sexy. I love the friction of enemies-turned-lovers plots in romances, so enjoyed Randi and Jon’s sniping, envisioning their locking gazes, the accidental touches, the heat that simmers below every insult. With the crime side being so detailed, I was a little worried the romance would get lost, but Kennison balances the elements well so you feel like neither side is too heavy.
All in all, I thought the book was sharp, well-researched, sexy as heck and very funny. It was very easy to read and was paced well so I never felt it dragged. A fantastic debut and I look forward to seeing more of Kennison’s books.