The mystery plot was incredibly weak and the main protagonist, Paula, seemed only to have a periphery interest and involvement. The plot overall seemed rambling and haphazard, there was no conviction, no sense of urgency and I was never convinced of Paula’s interest in anything, she seemed perpetually bored in the middle of her own story and I was bored right along with her. Those interested in the series for the gardening theme will find little to please since it garners only the occasional mention. If those reasons weren’t enough to turn me away from the series well the protag’s transformation from slightly prickly character to neurotic detached sizest certainly did the job. Is it possible for a character to de-evolve?
I obviously enjoyed this book a great deal less than the series opener, which received a strong three stars from me, but I don’t know that my light enjoyment of the first is enough to overcome my real dislike for Paula. I find the main protag’s neurotic eating and exercise habits, plus her constantly sizest thoughts a real turnoff. It seems everyone she encountered save her two friends were plump, pudgy, round, had haunches or were overflowing their seats. I’m not sure what the author was trying to prove with the constant mention of Paula’s fitness, Paula’s physical appeal, everyone else’s flabbiness and Paula’s “sleek” outdated wardrobe choices. Does she want us to believe that Paula is healthy and thin, the healthy part is questionable because a diet of protein bars and diet red bull with the occasional turkey wrap is hardly the picture of nutrition or health? Does she want us to believe that Paula is on the verge of an eating disorder? Does she want us to believe that Paula has questionable fashion sense with her leather pant, black jeans and suit jacket combinations? I don’t know and I don’t know that I care.
Perhaps the problem is the reader simply spends to much time with only Paula and little time with recurring characters, new characters and even the murder suspects interacting with her. She just isn't the kind of woman one wants to spend hours with, hearing her boring self-involved judgmental monologue. The next book should spend more time developing the mystery in a compelling and coherent manner, one that makes the reader keep going because the author is unraveling an intriguing tale and less time telling the audience about the physical awesomeness of Paula.