Friday, July 20, 2012

"Judas Kiss" by J.T. Ellison

Lt. Taylor Jackson is called to the scene of murder victim Corinne Wolfe, who has been viciously bashed to death. Her daughter had been left alone in the house with the dead body. The prime suspect is her husband Todd Wolfe, of course. He doesn't make it look good for himself when he keeps changing his story, and the evidence against him is overwhelming.

But Taylor has other problems. Her fiance, John Baldwin, just happens to have spent the last ten years consulting for the CIA in regards to the serial killers that they let do their dirty work, or their assassins who have gone rogue. Yeah, I found it a little ludicrous too. Anyway, a serial killer named only Aiden, who has a grudge against Baldwin, is now in town to kill Taylor, as he knows the best way to get revenge on Baldwin is to take away from him those he loves. Although he has a multitude of opportunities to take Taylor out, he's not terribly proactive about it.

Also on Taylor's plate is the head of the Office Of Professional Responsibility, Delores Norris. She apparently wants Taylor's head on a platter and will stop at nothing to try and derail her career. There's also a mysterious enemy who has released sex tapes of Taylor, and doctored a video that makes it look like she shot a former lover in cold blood. These videos are good fodder for Delores' mission to discredit Taylor. While tackling all these issues, Taylor takes time out every now and then to try and solve the murder mystery that you'd think was supposed to be the main crux of the story.

I own too many books. I think it's because that, no matter how routine or bad something is, I just have to find out what happens next. It's a compulsion. It's also the only explanation I can think of as to why I bothered with another book by J.T. Ellison after the thoroughly dull "14". I had to re-read my review of it on this blog to refresh my memory as to what actually happened in that book. Yes, it was that memorable. The end of that book had a serial killer known as The Pretender still on the run and off the grid. Maybe I picked up "Judas Kiss" because I wanted to see what happened to The Pretender?

He's on the outskirts of this plot, which is probably a good thing because Taylor has no less than four adversaries to deal with already in this ridiculous novel. The plotline regarding who murdered Corinne Wolfe is too thin to fill a proper novel, so Ellison packs this full with other storylines to try and take up space. The result is that none of the storylines are explored to their full potential or resolved with any sort of suspense or excitement. Taylor's stalking by Aiden provides the novel with its only thrilling moments. But the scenario is just too ludicrous for words. John's conveniently been a consultant for the CIA for the last ten years? Yeah, good one. The plotline is wrapped up very abruptly - thanks to The Pretender no less - with The Pretender's storyline to obviously be explored in a further novel (which I most likely won't be around for).

Then we have the leaked sex tape and the tape of Taylor murdering David Martin, her former police partner and lover. Was this former lover ever mentioned in the previous books? Or the fact that she had to shoot and kill him in self defence? Is there ANYBODY out there who hasn't wanted Taylor dead at some point? Similarly, the adversary behind the sex tapes is another person who has it in for Taylor. He's never been mentioned before, but apparently knows just how to get under Taylor's skin. The two of them are even two sides to the same coin, apparently! That's a comment from Taylor herself, by the way.

As for Delores Norris, the "Oompa" who wants to destroy Taylor's career, her only motive apparently is that she's a totally self-absorbed bitch. I hate to say it (actually, I don't), but Taylor herself is a bit of a self-absorbed bitch, too. It's all "me, me, me!" I guess it helps that half the country wants her dead. I'd be a bit self-absorbed if it were me.

In one truly stupid sequence, Taylor pulls out her gun and makes threats to a person she is questioning. Really? That's allowed? Taylor actually seems shocked when the person reports her. She seems to be even more shocked when the Office Of Professional Responsibility condemns her for it. What planet is this woman from? YOU PULLED A GUN ON A SUSPECT YOU STUPID BINT. This alone was enough to take me out of the novel and left me struggling to finish. Combine this with the multiple under-developed plotlines, barely established characters, and the author's annoying tendency to explain the history behind every bloody monument in Nashville and you have an exercise in pure, unrelenting tedium. The biggest mystery here is how such a crowded, busy novel could be so dull.

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