Sting - Sandra Brown

I’m abandoning this at the 33% mark. It's not awful. It's just not good.  It's as inoffensive as a beige and magnolia room and about as stimulating. I'd rather spend my time on something that excites my imagination.

 

I made it through the first third of the book because I liked the idea of a thriller with a slow start that drops me in the middle of a complex but unexplained situation. There's a clever idea at the core of this book and I'm sure there'll be a surprise or two along the way but as I read on, I found I just didn't care.

 

My interest collapsed under the weight of the pedestrians execution. The writing is competent but uninspired. The descriptive language is lazy to the point of sloppiness. The characters are mono-dimensional and unconvincing.

 

The only tension comes from the relationship between the assassin and the woman he has abducted. I’m fairly certain this is the pivot of the plot but the implied will-they-fall-for-each-other? dynamic is clumsily handled and fundamentally toxic. I struggle to believe that a woman who has just witnessed a man shoot his partner in the head from behind, been splattered by the resulting blood and brains, abducted, restrained and repeatedly threatened with death, is going to fall asleep fascinated by the way her assailant touched her bra strap. If you’re going to head in that transgressive direction you need to do it with flair and aggression. When it's delivered with this bland prose, it becomes exploitative.

 

This is my first book by Sandra Brown. I have another in my TBR pile. I can see that she is extraordinarily prolific. Perhaps that is why "Sting" reads like a production line effort: a clever idea competently delivered through multiple points of view but with nothing original to make reading it worthwhile. This is good TV fodder but it's not something I'm willing to spend hours on.