Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Bloodprint" by Kitty Sewell

Madeleine Frank is a psychotherapist still mourning the loss of her husband, although she does have an unsatisfying relationship with a younger man.

Her latest client is Rachel Locklear, a belligerent young woman who wants advice on how to shake her lover Anton, who is the father of her son, Sasha. Anton is a vicious, abusive Russian pimp and Rachel is afraid he may skip off to his home country with Sasha.

The relationship between the women becomes complicated when Madeleine starts to believe that Rachel is the daughter she gave up for adoption decades ago.

Seriously, where do I begin with this pile of crap? It seems to me that these days you can trot out a trite, self-important soap opera, slap a random murder in there and pass it off as a psychological thriller. This book (and perhaps the author) seems to think it is far better than it actually is. Well, all the fancy writing in the world can't make a dull book exciting. If you're trying to pass your product off as a "novel of psychological suspense", it would help if you threw in some suspense. Otherwise, call it a "psychological drama" or a "psychological study", but stop trying to cash in on the lucrative crime market.

Madeleine Frank is an idiot. The opening chapter describes how she and her husband are too busy having a bit of rumpy pumpy to notice that all their neighbours are getting out of dodge because of the APPROACHING HURRICANE. So in our first chapter, along with some tedious descriptions of wild weather, it is established that our main character is a bit of a dumb slut. That the next man she hooks up with is a two-timing cad doesn't do her any favours.

There is a sub-plot involving Madeleine's visits with some sort of hitman - Edmund, who is now in prison. Was the author going for some sort of Clarice Starling-Hannibal Lecter vibe here? It adds nothing to nothing - the last third of the book deals with Madeleine helping Rachel dispose of Anton's body after she kills him. Basically, this subplot provides a pointless revelation that Edmund was able to threaten Madeleine's douchebag boyfriend using outside contacts, and provides minor assistance when it comes time to dump the body.

So it turns out that Rachel knew all along that she was Madeleine's daughter, and acted like a snotty bitch to see if Madeleine would still want to be her mother if she thought Rachel was really repulsive. I include this spoiler because, yes, Rachel, you are pretty repulsive. A repulsive person would do something like emotionally blackmailing their birth mother into getting rid of a dead body. In fact, Rachel, you are the most odious main character I have ever encountered in a fictional novel. You have never taken responsibility for a single thing in your life and spend the entire book blaming everybody else for it. You were utterly insufferable. I couldn't understand why Anton hadn't already bashed your head in with an ashtray.

Then we have the ridiculous subplot involving Madeleine's now-crazy mother Rosaria and her dealings with Santeria, an old religion. The book seems to suggest that Rosaria can see into the future?

And don't get me started on the endless flashbacks. They serve their purpose early on, but just keep coming and coming, long past the point of relevance.

I get angry when a book is sold as one thing and turns out to be something else entirely. And throwing a random murder into your novel does not automatically classify it as suspense. Maybe it is not entirely the fault of the author - perhaps the publishing company saw the horrid manuscript lying on their desk and did what they could to sell it. I'm not sure how successful they were - the author hasn't written a book since. But the disgusting character of Rachel, the dumb-ass character of Madeleine, combined with the rambling, slapdash nature of the plot makes it hard to enjoy this one on any level.

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