Book Review: Desire and Deception by Sharon Buchbinder
I'm still a bit bemused as to what actually happened in this book.
We have two separate but intersecting stories; Sarah, the 'good girl' and Isabel, who is most definitely not a good girl. By the end of the book, Sarah gets her 'happy ending'. Which is nice. We're clearly meant to root for Sarah all along.
And Isabel appears to get away with murdering eight people (that the reader knows about), and is on her way to Mexico with every intention of killing her abusive father and taking his place as head of a crime cartel.
The author tells us that Izzy becomes more like 'good girl' Sarah during the course of the book, but I can only say that this is one of the biggest cases of telling and not showing I've ever seen. Isabel shows absolutely no remorse for her crimes, and indeed expresses the clear intention of committing more.
There is an enormous cast of characters in this book, and they all intersect together in intriguingly complicated ways. But I do feel that a fair few of the cast - and at least a couple of the sub-plots which made this such a muddle - could have been cut, and more focus placed on developing our main characters. I spent most of the book thoroughly disliking Sarah's husband Dan, for example. Sarah's happy ending was tainted for me because of that.
The biggest problem I have with this book is its categorization. On Amazon, it is in the Romantic Comedy genre, and in my opinion, it is not a romance and it is certainly not a comedy. It's a sexually charged, psychological thriller. With a bit or work to focus on that aspect of it, it might even have been a book I enjoyed... but as a romance, it falls utterly flat. I can't give it any more than three stars.
Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of this book for review through ReadingAlley.