Friday, February 17, 2023

Elle Keaton - Storm Season

They say you can’t go home again, Adam Klay doesn’t intend to until the death of his father, a famous artist, forces his return to Skagit, Washington. Cleaning up his father’s chaotic life was never on Adam’s bucket list. Worse, Adam finds himself inexplicably drawn to the elusive, terminally-clumsy, gorgeous, Micah Ryan. No way is he getting involved with someone from his hometown; he’s always insisted the best view of Skagit was in his rearview mirror.
Micah Ryan has been coasting on auto-pilot since his family was killed in a car accident a decade earlier. He runs a web business and has an irritable cat. He hardly leaves his house, unless it is for his afternoon espresso. His world tips upside down when Adam Klay rolls into town. For the first time in years, he feels alive. Unfortunately, Micah’s return to the living has been noticed and is not appreciated.
Someone has a secret. Someone is exploiting the vulnerable youth population in Skagit. Teenagers are disappearing, young women turning up dead, the dirty secrets of Skagit are surfacing.

Comment: I can't remember why I added this one to the pile. Having finished, I can only assume it was because one of the characters is described as shy, but whatever the reason, I wasn't as impressed by it as I hoped for.

In this book we met Adam Klay, a FBI agent who returns to his hometown of Skagit in Washington state, to deal with the house and stuff after the death of his famous artist father. They didn't always get along but Adam now feels like dealing with this so he can truly never live in this place again. His plans aren't as easy as he planned, though, because it seems a crime committed in Skagit might be linked to another one he had been investigating and, besides, he meets Micah, a shy clumsy guy he still feels attracted to.
Micah is shy but he is aware of Adam's interest and one a common friend instigates them to talk, it feels as if they would be quite a match. But Adam isn't here to stay and once he solves the house issues, he would leave... so a relationship wouldn't be a good idea, isn't it?

Well... the first chapter of this book was quite appealing. I liked the tone which made me think this would be a quiet story about a character who had a less than happy past but who would return to his childhood city so he could deal with things while solving a case and finding love. The idea isn't new but it has been done quite well by many authors and the way the beginning was written gave me expectations for certain.

However, as the story developed - and at its base it wasn't too bad, with the possible crime and romance mix - the main ideas stared to be just that, main ideas, and didn't have the actual depth one would expect. For instance, Adam was annoyed at the difficulty to solve a case before he got to Skagit but as the book was ending, that was quickly wrapped up over some casual detail. It was like there wasn't any real substance in any element, things or people were placed where it was necessary for a goal, but the path didn't matter that much.

The writing started to get weird, yes, choppy and jarring at times, as scenes  changed or one situation would jump into another sequence and some things happened off page or out of that sequence, so when the next paragraph would start, it would already be about a different thought/moment. This didn't happen in every chapter but pretty much, and some chapters felt incomplete, like they were just ideas and setting and not actual development. I can't tell if it was a matter of bad editing or the writing style is simply not very polished but the result is that often I was a little tired of trying to follow what was happening.

The plot isn't complicated, it actually has interesting details and suppositions but the way things evolved wasn't always very believable. Besides, the characters themselves weren't portrayed in logical fashion after we were told about their personalities and features. Something would have been said and then they would behave in a different way, making everything too odd and guesswork. I don't mind Adam and Micah as individuals, although some of their behavior felt very unlikely for grown up people with any awareness of their surroundings.

As a couple, I guess they were good enough and we are led to believe they will be good for one another, trying to help the other cope with the more difficult things they must accomplish, and facing issues from the past and all that, but I wasn't fully convinced each one of them was such a special person to merit such emotional investment. I think if the writing had been another, perhaps them as a couple might have worked out, but the way it is, I feel indifferent and will likely forget about them...

I don't think I'll read the following books, despite some setup has been done already and then one or two characters being intriguing. I would say there are better examples of both romance and mysteries out there.
Grade: 5/10

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