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Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
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Show No Fear: A Nina Reilly Novel Kindle Edition
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Well, after finishing the book, I'm scratching my head in amazement at what a disaster this book is.
This book's promoted as a "legal thriller", but there are few thrills, and little legal maneuvering.
First of all, it's extremely unfocused. The story wanders all over the map, with no real rhyme or reason, going from murder mystery to soap opera to love triangles (multiple) to law firm politics to single-parenting to medical malpractice to child custody battles, with neither cohesion nor coherence. This book simply doesn't know WHAT it wants to be. A classic case of overreaching, trying to cover too many bases, and thereby failing at covering any of them adequately.
The Nina Reilly in this book is unrecognizable as the character we know from previous works. Granted, she's much younger, but would this woman who goes into heat any time any guy's within five feet of her turn into the legal eagle of Lake Tahoe? What is up with that?
The murder mystery itself is given very short shrift, and when the denouement finally arrived, I was astonished at how incompetently it was portrayed. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what Nina and the killer were doing. Why were they thrashing around in the surf? What happened to the killer's gun? Neither acted believably at all, nor did O'Shaughnessy regular Paul van Waggoner, a police detective in this novel working on the murders while not otherwise busy chasing every skirt in sight. I guess his preoccupation with sex must explain why he doesn't even notice the killer's car is missing when the killer leaves the scene of the final confrontation. Not much of a detective; just a hound.
Unfortunately, this was a terrific premise that failed in the execution.
At the outset of the novel, Nina is a single mother in her late 20s living in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Working as a paralegal by day and attending law school at night, Nina already has her hands full when her ex-lover, Richard Filsen, shows up at her son's preschool and demands a paternity test. As the story progresses, she not only finds herself caught up in a fierce custody battle but also becomes embroiled in her mother's malpractice lawsuit against a corrupt acupuncturist.
To her dismay, Nina soon learns that Richard, a well-known attorney who is thoroughly unpleasant, is on the other side of that battle as well. Though she takes comfort in the fact that her firm's high-powered lawyer, Remy Sorensen, has agreed to represent her mother, events soon prove that even Sorensen's legal skills aren't enough to keep her mother safe. To make matters more complicated, Nina can't stop herself from falling for her boss, Jack McIntyre --- who just happens to be in love with the stunning Remy.
As a divorced mother, I found myself rooting for Nina as she struggled to balance work, school, motherhood --- and murder. There were, however, several problems with the plot that would lead me to believe that some readers might fare better with another book in the series. After the initial "kicker" scene, SHOW NO FEAR gets off to a slow start, and fans expecting the usual sort of legal thriller may be disappointed. At times it veers so far from its genre that it almost seems like a contemporary romance novel (not necessarily a bad thing, if that's what you're after). To be fair, the pace does pick up quite a bit during the book's second half. From that point on there were enough unexpected plot twists to keep me reading, and the identity of the murderer, though it did not come as a complete surprise, was clever and well concealed. The ending was satisfying, but I must admit its implausibility bothered me at times.
SHOW NO FEAR will likely be a welcome addition to the Nina Reilly series for many fans. Besides providing background information about Nina, O'Shaughnessy gives us the history of several characters who appear in later books, including her son Bob, her troubled brother Matt and skirt-chasing homicide detective Paul van Wagoner. For readers who want to learn more about O'Shaughnessy's intriguing protagonist --- or for those who simply like to commence at the beginning of a series --- this might be a good place to start.
--- Reviewed by Lori Lamothe
On one hand, you have a pretty good mystery. O'Shaughnessy shows us many characters with motive and/or opportunity to commit murder and manages to keep the reader guessing who the real culprit is. I personally was surprised when they were revealed and yet could then look back over the story and see the subtle clues that pointed in their direction. Just what a good mystery should be.
However, on the other hand you have a really, really sappy romance novel woven within the mystery that actually becomes annoying after a while. Nina has a crush on an attorney where she works. He's involved with another attorney. Then Nina seems attracted to a detective. She gets accosted by an ex-flame who happens to be the father of her son who now wants back into his son's life. It has such a soap-opera feel to it that it almost became painful at times to read through.
Overall, I would have to say it's a decent mystery novel but with some problems. If this is the normal style of the previous Nina Reilly books then I'm comfortable recommending this to fans of the series. I just don't know if I could recommend "Show No Fear" to any one else. Since O'Shaughnessy has written many books that have garnered great reviews I may go back and read one of those, just to see the difference. We'll see.
I agree with the reviewer who could not recognize Nina. Usually I find her a little too cold and hard for my taste; here she exhibits superhuman stamina, but way too much emotion. It's a little harsh to say she acts like she's in heat, but she does seem surprisingly interested in sex for someone as exhausted as she must be.
More importantly, I cannot believe that a woman as intelligent as Nina could "accidentally" become pregnant in the 1990s. Affordable, efficient birth control has been easy to come by for DECADES; I do not think the accidental pregnancy plot is acceptable any more without a pretty strong story explaining how it could happen -- like maybe a poor teenager from a fiercely religious background and a weak self-image. But NINA?? No way. And we're supposed to think that she carried on a relationship with Filsen and others with no birth control? uh-uh.
I wouldn't mind another episode from Nina's past, but I hope for a deeper story.
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