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Friday, April 05, 2013

Payne & Misery, by Catherine Leggitt

Payne & Misery is Christian fiction. I tell my regular readers that straight up because you know what my usual opinion of this genre is. I was asked if I wanted to participate in a blog tour for this book and I said yes after thinking about it for several days. My hesitation was two-fold: a.) it's Christian fiction and b.) the title of the book. (I can't say that I particularly care to have any additional pain or misery in my life. I most particularly choose to avoid it in fiction books. I do not always get to choose to avoid it in real life.)

However, I ultimately decided to go for this read because it's a mystery and I felt like reading a mystery. (I've just been in the mood for mysteries of late and haven't let myself dive into many. Oh how I've wanted to!) At any rate, the description of the book convinced me to give it a go. The storyline is as follows:

Christine Sterling has developed a reputation for jumping to wild conclusions. With such an imagination, who is likely to take her seriously when she discovers a bruised and neglected neighbor named Lila Payne? Try as she might, she cannot interest anyone in Lila's dire need for immediate rescue. Something about crying wolf once too often.

But then Lila and Christine's beloved dog Molly both disappear the same night.

If no one will help her, she must find Lila and Molly herself.

I would love to say that I enjoyed every moment of this book but I can't honestly say so. I had a hard time connecting with the character of Christine, mostly. (The mystery aspect of the book was curious and I kept reading on to find out exactly what happened to Lila.) The character Christine does jump to wild conclusions - constantly. So much so that I can totally understand why her husband becomes annoyed by her! And I had a hard time appreciating the investigative work of Christine coming from the perspective of having once worked in a District Attorney's office and therefore I found a lot of what she did implausible-to-completely-frustrating.

That said, I did find Leggitt's description of certain things that were supposed to be amusing to be so. Christine gets a bad haircut in this story (while doing some investigative work) and her descriptions of both the character's emotions and actions in trying to disguise her hair were hilarious. I did laugh quite a bit over that. Mostly I laughed at that because I've had a bad hair cut that I tried to hide and couldn't. It's only ever funny in retrospect . . . several years down the road . . . when your hair has grown back! Heh. I could tell that Leggitt meant for us to laugh at Christine frequently and I did do that.

I've seen a character on tv that reminds me of Christine in this book and though I've been wracking my brain to remember who it is, I haven't come up with it. Picture a recently retired busybody, of sorts, who is bored and in want of adventure. That pretty much summarizes this book. If you like Christian fiction and mysteries, then I can imagine you really liking this book. It's tame, all things considered, and a mystery is indeed involved.

One thing to note for conservative readers: there is one scene which mentions/discusses "love-making" between Christine and her husband but which I found completely unnecessary in every single way. Mostly I object to the scene because I didn't appreciate the image that sprung to mind. I see enough of these scenes in mainstream novels and I have nothing at all nice to say about it. Leave it out. It's unnecessary, rather crass and even if you aren't describing something in great detail, you are painting pictures in the readers' heads which set their imagination to work. See my previous rant on the subject. I'll never have anything nice to say about that.

That caveat aside, I do appreciate being invited to participate in this blog tour. Many thanks to Pump Up Your Book and the author, Catherine Leggitt herself, for sending a copy of this book my direction in exchange for my honest thoughts.

4 comments:

Barbara H. said...

Amen about leaving out unnecessary sexual references. I get so tired of that! I don't need to know!

You know that I like Christian fiction, but I don't think I'd like this very much. I'm annoyed just reading about someone who jumps to conclusions to easily. :-)

Annette {This Simple Home} said...

I believe she is the author of Beaded Hope, a book I thoroughly enjoyed a couple years ago.

I'm still trying to figure out the Christian book industry and too many sexual references.

BerlinerinPoet said...

*sigh* Another mediocre Christian Fiction, eh?

CATHERINE LEGGITT said...

Carrie, I so appreciate your review of my book. I am sorry the few sentences about the "love-making" were offensive to you, and sorrier still that the mere mention of this subject would cause someone to reject the book in total. My reason for including that very brief portion was to make a statement about the importance of romance in marriage among long-married mid-life couples.
Annette, I am not the author of "Beaded Hope" which is a wonderful book by Kathy Liggett.
BerlinerinPoet, please don't give up on Christian fiction. There are amazing books by Christian authors to be adored and cherished.
Carie, many blessings for giving my book a try and then making your honest appraisal.

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