Sunday, July 15, 2012

{Review} "Toe The Line" by Dick Hannah


Title:  Toe The Line
Author: Dick Hannah
Publisher:  Echelon Press Publishing
Publication Date:  April 6, 2012
Genre:  Contemporary Thriller (?)
Format:  Kindle 531 KB  |  Paperback 258 pages

Buy this book on Amazon:  Kindle Edition  |  Paperback
Author's Website:  
http://dickhannahwriting.com/dhnovels/Home.html 

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In Toe the Line, small business owner and triathlete, Wynn Johnston, finds his ordered, predictable life thrown into turmoil when his training and business partner, Wheeler, is murdered in the seemingly safe confines of the Seattle airport. 

As Wynn begins to dig into Wheeler’s past he finds out that his best friend was involved in a racing conspiracy that puts Wynn’s business and his life in danger. Wheeler’s murder forces Wynn to confront deceptive fellow racers, the potential bankruptcy of his business, and past loves he thought long dead, all while avoiding the murderer who is hunting him across Seattle. 

Filled with deep and engaging characters, scenic descriptions of the Pacific Northwest, and a female main character who is the impetus behind the action, this novel provides both male and female readers with an intriguing, well-rounded, fast-paced mystery and a glimpse into the world of triathlon racing.
Diving in...

Ok, I'll be honest here, since that's what this blog is all about.  This wasn't my type of book.  I wasn't sure when I started reading it, but I plowed through it regardless.  While I didn't care for the story, I still wanted to know "who done it", if you will.  

I will start with this, I am a total "judge the book by it's cover" kind of girl.  I always have been, and this, to me, just isn't a great cover.  Sure, the bright green is eye catching, but that's about all it does for me.  The cover is just the beginning of the book, and even bad ones can hold great stories and vice versa.  My point is this, if I hadn't been contacted by the author to review it I wouldn't have looked twice at this book because of the lackluster cover.

Here are some things that I did like about the book.  I loved that it's set in Seattle.  I love that city, so I will read just about anything set there, because I just enjoy the description of it so much.  I was not let down in this regard at all, the setting and descriptions were done very well.  I think that the story had great potential and the mystery of it did intrigue me, but it seemed to just fall flat at some point.

I didn't care for Wynn as the main character, he was missing something.  He was really flat and emotionless to me.  At first I thought it was just his character, but I didn't really connect to any of the characters in the book.  I did like Harvey, but that was somewhat diminished by the fact that Wynn was always questioning him and his motives.  I didn't think that Madison was particularly likable either.  She was flaky, like she didn't know what she wanted most of the time.  She was hot and cold throughout the book, she never seemed to be on middle ground.  As sad as this is to say, I think I liked the dogs more than most of the people in the book and I am NOT an animal person!

There were inconsistencies that bothered me too.  I never did really figure out whether Wheeler was shot or stabbed.  I am positive that they mention getting a gun past airport security, then later say he was stabbed.  There are several other instances where one or the other is mentioned.  There were also a lot of typo's and errors, so it's possible that was one of the errors that wasn't corrected.  Regardless, there is nothing that will take me out of a story faster than continual inconsistencies.
I get that this was a story with a triathlon theme, but there seemed to be WAY more focus on the intricacies of the sport and not enough focus on the actual plot.  There was a lot of story and character building left undone in my opinion.  I didn't care that Wynn was unemotional about Wheeler's death, because not enough was put into either character to make me care about them.  I wanted to know who killed him, but only for the sake of knowing, if that makes any sense.  It wasn't because I cared about him.

There was a lot going on in the book that, with more planning and development, could have resulted in a really great story.  This is where it all just fell short for me.  I didn't care about the sport they promoted, it really would have been better as part of the back story.  The main focus, in my opinion, should have been on Wheeler's cooked books, mob like connections, money laundering, etc... and using this to find his murderer. I was lost in the details of a sport that didn't really interest me at all.

In all honesty, I would hesitate to recommend this book.  I know it's not a book my personal friends would enjoy.  I think it could have been a good mystery type story with better plot and character development.  I am one of those readers that needs to feel for the characters I am reading about and this was one of those cases where I just didn't.  

*Disclaimer:  I received an electronic copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for my honest review.*



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