Friday, April 22, 2016

New Review! Kith and Kill by Thea Hartley, 2.5 Cranky Stars

This is a somewhat difficult review to write. There are very few people who experience joy when being critical of an author’s work and I am not one of them.

While I did not connect with this story, it’s clear other people have. Also, I hope that comments are taken as constructive criticism.

Kith and Kill is the first book in the Resa James series. Resa, the main female lead, is a psychologist and works at a university. She is seconded to help police when the sister and brother-in-law of one of her students are murdered.

As events unfold, the deaths form part of a larger pattern of murders. The police draw on Resa’s expertise and as the layers are revealed, it places Resa and people she cares about in danger.

Resa’s home life is complicated. She is the main caregiver of her teenaged daughter, Laura, who is a fantastic secondary character. Resa’s mother redefines the word ‘difficult’ and is a great minor antagonist in the larger narrative.

The main issues I have with this story are technical. There was a lot of head hopping in this story. We moved from one character to the next, sometimes in the same chapter or paragraph, and without warning.

The dialogue was stilted, which meant the characters came across as wooden. I also found some of the speech tags distracting e.g. Said Resa, said Laura, said Anna. I think the story would have benefited from some variety or eradicating some tags that weren’t necessary. It would have made the work a cleaner read.

In saying this, I believe there is a lot of promise in the Resa James’ series. I liked Resa. As a main character she is smart and someone to cheer for. Her daughter, Laura, is extremely likable and the two have a good relationship, which makes a change from the standard mother/teenaged-daughter conflict trope.

The premise of the story is intriguing and so are the revelations to the wider mysteries contained therein.

I look forward to more works in the Resa James’s series in the future.

With thanks to THE Book Club for the opportunity to read and review.

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