Friday, August 18, 2017

Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble, 2017

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USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble returns to her beloved Rock Harbor—but both danger and romance hide in this idyllic small town.

Dana Newell has just moved to Rock Harbor to take a job as a sheriff's dispatcher and is settling in next door to Bree and Kade Matthews. The abusive relationship she left behind seems a distant memory in this perfect place.

Her first day on the job, Dana receives a call from her friend Allyson who screams "He's going to kill me too" before the phone goes dead. Dana immediately dispatches a deputy, but it's too late. Allyson's death is ruled an accident, but Dana just doesn't believe it. She knows Allyson—an investigative reporter—was researching a new story. Did someone want to keep her quiet?

Dana continues to look into the accident with the help of Bree and also Allyson's cousin Boone. Romance quickly blooms between Dana and Boone but the game is much more complex than either of them imagined. When Dana's ex-fiance locates her, she's caught in the middle. It’s a game of cat and mouse as she and Boone fight to catch one killer while evading another.

(368 pages)

Beneath Copper Falls is an interesting and engaging read, but ultimately not a very memorable one. It struggled to incorporate a wide variety of characters and storylines while picking up speed in a murder mystery that was more head-scratching than anything.

I mean, the murderer's attitude and demeanor . . . doesn't really match the psyche of his crimes. Forgive me if I'm wrong about this, because I am definitely not a mental health expert, but it seems like his behavior over time is not really cohesive with a single psychological profile. Even so, I still confidently guessed the murderer 1/3 of the way from the book's end. The murder mystery part of the story wasn't really much of a twisty surprise.

As for the other part, the characters, I thought they were pretty well done. Like I said, I did enjoy reading Beneath Copper Falls, so take this with a grain of salt . . . but I thought the characters were rather too plentiful to be necessary (the side effect of writing multiple books set in the same town!) and that a lot of the dialogue was pretty cheesy. And the romance was just painful to read.

Also, Dana really didn't ring true to me as a 911 dispatcher. I don't know exactly what training they go through, but it must be pretty intense; the way she reacts when things go wrong throughout the story just didn't feel like she'd been taught to cope with emergencies. And it seems like the sort of person who helps out in emergencies all day long would already have some basic self-defence training (if for no other reason than that she'd have seen first-hand how necessary it can become). Finally, several times on the job Dana has to fight the urge to offer to pray with people as she helps them–and, indeed, she mentions that she used to get in trouble at her old job for doing just that. I shouldn't even need to say it, but that is utterly inappropriate and unprofessional behavior. It's not "nice" or "godly" to try and shove your religious practices on people when they're at their most frantic and fragile, it's just potentially adding a new stressor to an already-extreme situation. I can't believe this hadn't been drilled into Dana at some point.

This review reads pretty negatively, but I just want to reiterate that I did enjoy reading Beneath Copper Falls. It may have had its flaws, and it may not be the best book I've ever read, but it was still a nice, fluffy read that helped me while away my summer hours. That is certainly worth something in and of itself!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, in order to participate in a TLC blog tour.

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