Thursday, 12 May 2016

Book Review: Crimes and Retributions by Shirley McLain

Crimes and Retributions – Shirley McLain

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: Shirley McLain
Publisher: Shirley’s Books
First published: 2016
Cover: pdf eBook

Pages: 166
Blurb:    (Taken from Goodreads)
A young woman is drugged, kidnapped and taken to a remote island where she is kept captive in a tower. Her twin brother does everything he can to rescue his sister, all the while trying to keep his business going. There is criminal activity that involves the world. Samantha’s life is touched by destiny as she plans to escape from her captor.

History of my copy: I was given a free pdf copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I went into this book expecting something quite different from what I got. I feel as if the cover itself doesn’t reflect the book’s content at all. That being said, I still really enjoyed this book. The cover made me feel as if this book would tell the story of a kidnapping where the victim is mistreated and almost tortured and, when rescued, would become a whole different woman than who she was before. My expectations couldn’t be further from the truth.

Plot: Sam is kidnapped by ex-lover Tony and held on his island estate. Locked in a tower, which felt a little Rapunzel-y at first, Sam is treated with luxury and comfort, despite her confinement. The reader is treated to two stories at the beginning of the book: following Sam’s life in the tower and her plans for escape, and following her twin brother Allan at home as he tries to keep his business running without his sister and deal with a dangerous disease caused by a mine in Scotland. The snapping between the two plots can be a little confusing at first, and leaves the reader stumped as to how the two stories intertwine. As the plot thickens, it turns out that Tony, along with two other characters (not named to avoid spoiling the book) are actually working together and want to use Sam to find out information about Allan and his business.

Setting: Unlike McLain’s other book I have read (review here), Crimes and Retributions really delved into the setting of the story, especially Sam’s ‘prison’. Some details were so vivid, I really felt like I was trapped with Sam. There was a good contrast between the lavish places that Tony calls home and the organised office of Allan’s.

Characters: My main issue with Crimes and Retributions is the lack of attachment I had to any character. Whilst I was interested in the story, enough for it to be a real page-turner at points, I didn’t care much at all or the characters. They seemed a little one-dimensional and even the ‘villains’ felt like they had little motive behind their actions.
               Sam and Allan’s mind connection felt a little weird in a book that, although containing made-up aspects, still felt too real for that sort of thing. I also feel as if Sam and Lee’s whole relationship was forced, almost too much of a ‘you rescued me so I most love you’ sort of thing.

To read or not to read: Read. Crimes and Retributions contains two interesting, thick plots that wind together unexpectedly and fantastically. Much like Princess Adele’s Dragon, also by McLain, the story itself and the ingenious plot twists certainly make up for the lack of depth of the characters.

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