Detective Kendall (Kenny) Halsrud has her hands full. She’s still recuperating from being shot, she’s practically homeless, her partner is unexpectedly hospitalized, and she’s investigating a gruesome home invasion/multiple murder/baby kidnapping case. Along the way, Kendall joins forces with one of the murder victims’ relatives, an albino fortune teller and a former detective, who’s now turned PI.
If it sounds like there’s a lot going on in Relative Malice, that’s because there is. In fact, there are so many characters and subplots thrown into the mix, it quickly becomes a chaotic jumble of “stuff” that went off in far too many directions.
The book is told in multiple POVs, which wouldn’t be bad if each POV character were given their own chapters. But, the author has chosen to suddenly switch POV in mid-chapter, disrupting the flow of the story. Several times, character dialogue flowed into one another, which became another irritating source of confusion.
Much of the story dealt with a very dark subject: the possibility that “baby pedophilia” was the primary reason for the home invasion. Without revealing spoilers, suffice it to say that a graphic description was included for good measure. Nasty stuff, and in my opinion it wasn’t necessary to spell it out for readers.
There were several far-fetched coincidences thrown in: Kendall just happens to move into an apartment right across the hall from a fortune teller who just happened to have done an ominous card reading for two of the murder victims right before they were murdered. Said fortune teller just happens to be a computer hacker on probation who has the ability to track down several “baby pedophiles” for Kendall (just a tad too Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to be original). These things alone made the story far too unbelievable even for a fiction novel.
The main character, Kendall, spent a lot of time internally putting herself down as not being as attractive as she would like. However, it seemed that the majority of the other characters (male and female) were spending a lot of time plotting to get her into bed.
I really thought I’d enjoy this book much more than I actually did. I read the glowing five star reviews and had high hopes for it. The book was free, so the price was right, but I’m afraid I can’t recommend Relative Malice.
3 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton