Publication Date: October 1, 2011
In Addicted to Love by C.J. West, Wes comes from a very wealthy family and has just sold his business and is now very wealthy and in need of a break. Before moving on to his next venture, he visits his parent’s summer home in the town in which he grew up and picks up with a local girl with whom he feels an obsessive attraction. When the local sheriff (and Wes’s neighbor) is brutally killed, seemingly by his own wife, Wes is appointed interim sheriff and must solve this case.
I don’t wish to be harsh, but if I hadn’t planned to review this book, I would have stopped reading about 30% into the novel. The first few pages caught my interest, but from there, it was all downhill. What follows is a plotline that not only suspends disbelief; it stretches it until disbelief shreds. Are we truly expected to believe that a town council — even one governing a small town with no murders — would appoint someone with no experience (and not even living in the town) to the position of an interim sheriff?
We’re told that he’s been appointed to curry favor with his rich father, but his father isn’t local, and we never see how such a move could benefit the town. Wes, for reasons unclear, takes the position and then, instead of actually doing any investigating, goes off to have sex with his girlfriend on her parents’ couch for an hour while his deputy waits to drive with him to drop off evidence. Wes is possibly the worst sheriff in the history of the mystery genre. If you ask me, the guy who is described as being troll-like with a big mouth has a point, why would they appoint this jerk sheriff? Thank you, short, bald, Greek chorus.
Twenty percent into the book, any reader with connected brain cells knows not only who the bad guy is, but pretty much how the bad guy is doing and what he’s doing. While I don’t think West is trying to keep the bad guy a secret, the knowledge highlights of how inept Wes is as sheriff, especially as there’s a character screaming the solution in his face. Given the difficulty, Wes has with the case, the ease with which he solves it also takes an epic suspension of disbelief. West doesn’t bother to truly develop his characters.
Leah, for instance, we know is very thin, and that’s about it. Even when we meet Leah’s 12-year-old biological daughter, we don’t learn more about her. She is the blow-up doll who texts Wes constantly and is sexually demanding and petulant to a fault when she doesn’t get that sexual satisfaction. Finn, perhaps the best developed of all the background characters, also lacks certain believability.
Where Wes is just too wonderful, Finn is just too pathetic. This reader was surprised to discover the characters were meant to be in their 30s as they all read very young. There is one really wonderful point to this novel, the climax. If you can get through the horrible storyline, poor character development and energetic sex, the climax of the novel is genius.
The way it was written was beautifully brutal and made all of the slogging through this novel worthwhile. Overall, this plot had promise. It could have been something great but very shortly in, it was just too cheap and obvious. I would not recommend this novel.
I have heard that West’s other works are very good. I own his novel, Sin And Vengeance (Randy Black Series), so I will review that novel at a later date to see if his cheerleaders are right and this bad novel was just a fluke.
Read an excerpt and buy Addicted to Love by C.J. West on