Unbound. Dale Mayer.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.
I’ve read and really enjoyed some of Dale’s paranormal novels, and thought I’d see how the transition to a non paranormal work went. I hadn’t read the excerpt about it being a new genre for Dale but its very accurate as when I was reading this book I felt unsure whether it was a romance with thriller elements or a thriller with romantic elements. I felt it didn’t really work that well for me, as I’d have preferred a slant more to one way or the other. With it being so clearly balanced between two genres I was waiting for the romance to start, but it seemed very, very slow burn and even when Karina and Brian did get together there didn’t seem any passion between them, just a steady burn romance. Maybe I’ve been reading too much romance and the slow steady stuff just isn’t for me? Then there’s the Thriller element. I felt either the police were spectacularly inept, or Ian had become very professional very quickly as he didn’t seem to have any previous history in the criminal world…
Anyway that’s my crits – now for what I did like. As ever Dale’s characters are really well rounded and feel genuine. I loved the way Karina had such passion with Brian when they were at uni – its a shame IMO that Brian became so …uptight? Staid? I guess his experiences had led him to that but I’d have loved it if his feelings for Karina were let loose a little more. Still, life changes us all doesn’t it and clearly Dale saw Brian’s life experience making him this way. Karina – that memory of the night with Brian had shaped so much of her life too – and obviously when meeting him again she still felt the same towards him. I felt for her so much, she seemed to be putting in so much work into their relationship, where Brain was so slow and cautious. I’m glad she persevered. Then there’s her friends – a great group of people and a huge support when she needed them. Ian – what can I say about him? He seemed to have a screw lose from the start, and I enjoyed the way Dale shows us just how much psychological damage a breakup can do. The only fault I have with the thriller element was as I said – Ian going from a seeming normal law abiding man to a very clever manipulator. I found that hard to believe, and would have enjoyed the thriller element more if I didn’t keep thinking “ how did he know how to…” given that we haven’t been told of any previous history in that field. I just feel the police would have walked all over someone inexperienced, and of course the novel needed him to fool everyone. Apart from that the thriller element balanced really well for me, with a slow build of tension working up to a life threatening finale. I did enjoy the psychological element – I like novels that look into the “whys” of people behaviours and what influences them.
Editing and quality of writing is spot on, and priced at £3.38 for 234 pages is around average for value.
Stars: I’m still mixed over how I feel about this novel – I enjoyed lots of it and yet my caveats over the parts I’ve mentioned overshadows some of that. Its better than a three star and yet doesn’t quite make it as a four for me. So its a three and half. Of course what I don’t like others may and perhaps if you want a thriller without in-your-face, passionate sex, then this is for you 🙂 We all love different things in books thankfully.