Book Review: Hidden by Fern Michaels
I’m honestly at a loss here, because I’ve read Fern Michaels books before and they were not like this. This is terrible. I can’t even write a synopsis because even after finishing it, I’m still not sure who the protagonists actually were. For a romantic suspense being marketed to fans of Nora Roberts and Danielle Steele, there’s no suspense because nobody is actually ever in peril as two incompetent caricatures of villains look for a missing will (and the one henchman they hire just disappears halfway through the story). There’s barely a hint of romance. But there is a spectacular amount of waffle. Every character even mentioned gets an entire backstory, even if they never appear in the story. For example, Marshall Gaines’ ex-wife. Did we really need to know about her being a dental hygienist? There was a whole page about it! We really didn’t need two chapters on the construction and opening of an arts centre, when nothing actually happened there until several weeks later, and pages and pages from the viewpoint of Ellie, owner of the centre, who had nothing to do with the plot and wasn’t present at the conclusion. Huge swathes of this just needed cutting, for being boring and utterly unrelated to the actual plot.
The timeline is all over the place, and don’t even get me started on the constant point of view switches, sometimes in the middle of a paragraph! This is well proof-read with minimal typos, but it doesn’t feel like an editor has ever even looked at it, and I certainly expect better from a publisher like Kensington and an author with a backlist like Michaels. It honestly reads like a first draft, and one written in simplistic words.
I’m going to share a sample. “Instead, he unbuckled his seat belt, turned her head toward him, brushed her hair from her face, and landed a kiss on her lips. He didn’t miss the mark this time. That would have easily scored a 10.0 in the Olympics.” See what I mean? It reads like bad fanfiction (and I love fanfic, but the lack of editorial oversight does mean the bad stuff absolutely reeks). Why is HE turning HER head? And this ends a chapter - and is the sum total of the romantic action in the book! No major publishing house should be putting out tripe like this. I’m shocked and thoroughly disappointed. One star.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.