The Falls by Karen Harper

You know you’re in trouble when you come across a line like this in a book: “I have a feeling my survival training from years ago and my duty during Operation Desert Storm is going to come in real handy.’

Of course the joke’s on me. The revelation- spoken by hard-as-nails Sheriff Nick Braden doesn’t come until page 285- but I knew the book was gonna be a stinker by page 10…yet I still kept reading.

Publishers Weekly loved The Falls and said Harper has a fantastic flair for creating and sustaining suspense… Um- okay.

Claire Malvern wakes up in the middle of the night and discovers that her husband, Keith, is missing. They live in Washington State, where they are renovating an old fishing lodge they intend to open as a B and B. When Keith’s body turns up in the river, presumably after having jumped off the bridge at Bloodroot Falls, the Sheriff calls it suicide, but Claire just knows Keith would never kill himself.

Sadly, though, Claire knows less about her husband than she thinks she does. And it turns out that most of the small cast of characters in Harper’s cliched novel have something to hide. Sadly, none of it is very interesting.

Look- there are all sorts of this kind of book out there and I’ve read lots of them. What’s the most important ingredient to make them work? You have to care about the characters. They have to be believable.

Nothing to look at here, folks. Move along and save your money.

The Lake by Richard Laymon

This almost never happens to me. I couldn’t finish this book. It was CRAP…I mean, crap in the sense that it was poorly written, unbelievable and stupid…not crap in the sense of lots of fun- the sort of entertainment I generally read quickly in between books. Sort of a palate cleaner.

I bought it on the bargain table and paid very little for it…but 100 pages in I wish I’d saved my money.

So, I went looking for book reviews…and strangely, other people seemed to like it.

This totally absorbing crime thriller will have readers enthralled and unable to put it down until the last page is turned
, says one review.

But when one of the characters is chased by a man wearing a chef’s hat carrying a cleaver turns out to be, in fact, a crazy chef her mother recently fired…well, you can see where I’m going with this.

I have no idea what happens…and I don’t care.

Save your money!

Men at Work by Denison, Bangs, Davidson

So this book was on the display of books that have been reduced; I can never walk by that display. I always have to buy something. Sometimes I luck out. I found Denise Mina that way. All I can say about Men at Work is that it only cost $4.99- and it was worth about one third of that because the second and third stories were so bad, I couldn’t even finish them.

So, yeah, this book is supposed to be “three sizzling tales of men who are good with their hands.” Okay- what?

If you can believe it, there’s actually a review.

Trust me- if you’re looking for smut I can recommend some great stuff. I can’t recommend this.

The White Iris by Sandy MacDonald

This book was chosen for our book club last month…and the woman who chose it was quite sure that she’d win ‘best book’ this year with this comical look at three eccentric women in rural Nova Scotia.

The White Iris was written by lawyer Sandy MacDonald and after reading it (well, trying to read it) I would humbly suggest that he not give up his day job. The story is hardly the sparkling and witty examination of environmental issues it claims to be. For me- it was a diatribe of a novel peopled by stock characters, pedestrian prose and enough lifeless filler for three novels.

Worst book I’ve read this year.