In my constant quest for new authors - new to me, anyway, I stumbled upon the Ellery Adams Books By The Bay series. So far, I have read three books in this series: "A Killer Plot," "A Deadly Cliche," and the one I am reviewing today, "The Last Word."
The main character is Olivia Limoges, who moved home to Oyster Bay after a long absence. She owns two restaurant and belongs to a writer's group, made up of people who are writing books, and they have all become fast friends.
In "The Last Word," Oyster Bay's newest resident is bestselling novelist Nick Plumley, came to work on is next book, a sequel to his first, which was set in the area. When Olivia happens to discover Nick's corpse in his rented house not far from hers, she and the rest of the writer's group are plunged into a mystery that ultimately reveals some of the area's past and that of some of the people who Olivia considers her long-time friends.
These books are mysteries that border on romances. They are well-written enough for me to put up with the "romance" part, but there is one off-putting element on which the jury is still out. Adams will be rocking along with the plot and then brings everything to a screeching halt by injecting page after page of excerpts out of the book Olivia or another member of the group is writing. She goes into detail about their plots, etc., which I find very distracting. Who really cares to hear all about a fictional book that is being written by a fictional character? These excerpts would be understandable if they served to advance the plot of the mystery, but there is no explanation for their existence at all. They are just stuck in there, as if Ms. Adams needs to meet some word-count quota, and can't find enough to say about the mystery at hand.
At this point, it is very difficult to go back to the original story, although when I sense her switching into an excerpt, I just skip over a few pages and get back to the original plot fairly quickly. It is still annoying, though, and I'm still deciding if it is distracting enough to stop reading this series altogether. That, and the fact that nobody in the book eats a burger and fries. It's all haute cuisine from Olivia's upscale restaurant or seafood from her newly renovated Crab Shack, and no recipes.
The last book review I wrote about a book I didn't like was somehow found and read by the author, whereupon she e-mailed me and explained at length that I obviously didn't "get" her many metaphors. Actually, I did get them. I know what metaphors are, thank you very much. I just didn't think hers were apt. Besides, not every single character and every single one of their actions need be a metaphor.
She reminded me of a Lit. professor who insisted that "The Great Gatsby" contained many metaphors. Ho, hum. I "got" what she was talking about, too, but I was still of the opinion that F. Scot Fitzgerald was no deeper than his characters and only wrote for the money. I still think so, so it will do no good to argue with me about it. So, there.
What I'm wondering, now, is whether I enjoy the books enough toe-mail the author and ask, respectfully, why she includes all those extraneous excerpts. Should I or shouldn't I? Or, should I just shut up and read something else? I wouldn't want to invite another lengthy explanation pointing out my inability to understand her book. On the other hand, she might be perfectly nice and have a good reason for inserting the excerpts that I haven't yet thought about.
What would you do?
This blog used to be called "Old Dog, New Trick", but it doesn't seem to fit, somehow. Oh, I'm still old, but I learned this new trick (blogging) years ago, so it's an old trick, now. Anyway, I love to read, watch movies, blog, travel whenever possible and gamble (slots). I tend to think everyone is entitled to my opionion, so you'll read a lot of that here. Feel free to disagree, nicely.