The Purest Hook, Scarlett Cole
When I started reading this the writing style, along with the plotlines, reminded me a bit of Tracey Woolf and Helena Hunting. Authors whose books I really enjoy. Its a story that had – for me- great potential but didn’t quite live up to it. I hadn’t read earlier books, though each is a stand alone just containing characters from them as secondary people here.
Pixie and Dred, loved them both but I needed just that bit more from them, a little more real emotion and connection. There was a lot of should I – shouldn’t I on Pixie’s part, and the mystery of her background taunted constantly. Not knowing what had actually happened was more frustrating though than tantalising, and I’d have perhaps understood her reticence more if I’d have known what went on, what she was so scared of.
There were times when the plot just felt it was flogging a dead horse when it kept covering old ground, especially when not a lot was actually revealed.
A few parts of the plot felt really overdone, unreal, as though they were pushed in place to move the man plot along rather than developing naturally from events, and that’s always a problem for me. There are some things I can let go in the name of fiction, others not so much and the Petal angle was one I just couldn’t get with. Would she really have been left like that by Social Services ( or whatever the Canadian equivalent is?) I just couldn’t see it, and that was such a strong part of the story it was a let down for me, likewise Amanda’s seeming about turn towards the end.
Set against that though there was another part, someone from the close group acting in a way that seemed to be at odds with how he should, that built slowly throughout, where I felt somehow that Something Was Going to Happen – but when it did I didn’t expect That – never saw that happening and I love to be caught out like that. A good surprise.
Dred – his reaction when something was revealed that he didn’t know, ( its kind of hard to write what without giving a spoiler but when you read it you’ll know what I mean) didn’t feel it gelled with the understanding, kind, sympathetic and loving man I’d thought he was. I just couldn’t see the Dred I knew acting like that, and it felt wrong, especially given his stance on his brothers.
Set against all those things that didn’t feel right to me was a story with so much potential, and so much to like in it ( so much I did like despite my comments above!) I’d like to read the earlier books sometime, and see if its just this one read that has these problems for me. It feels like Scarlett is an author who writes in a style I’d enjoy, and maybe its just this book that’s got problems for me. Liking an authors stories doesn’t mean you’ll love everyone of them, and of course finding issues with one doesn’t mean you won’t love the others.
Stars: three, a good read but with some fairly problematic areas for me.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher