I should have known better when I saw this blurb on the front cover of Inconclusive Evidence by Reily Garret: “A Romantic Thriller.” Somehow, the written invitational summary of the book convinced me this novel would focus on a legal thriller theme and there would be non-subtle hints of a romantic situation along the way. In fact, there is little of a legal thriller in this novel. Instead there many unrealistic coincidental situations disguised behind supposedly possible scientific description set in an overplayed almost sexual romantic non-thriller.
The contextual dialogue between Luc and Megan is supposed to be humorous and it is. But it is not logical in that occurs in an environment when the two of them are members of a small group that is out to save the world from domination by a couple of bad guys. Said bad guys are out to kill everyone opposing them and seem to have extraordinary powers to hunt, find, and kill all opponents. Luc, the true owner of a remote cabin in the woods, unintentionally attacks Megan, a highly intelligent veterinarian on vacation in a house she unknowingly illegally rented from a fraudulent owner. To be fair, Megan provoked the attack when she did not know Luc was the actual owner. She thought Luc was part of a group that had killed Jackie, her BFF. She learned of Jackie’s death at the secret, remote cabin she had rented while she was watching a CNN report of her friend’s death. She had rented the cabin after spending great effort to erase her presence from all social media and the digital world. Her examination of encrypted documents and comparison of data with events publicly reported convinced her there was a conspiracy she had to bring to the attention of authorities to save the world and solve the mystery of her friend’s murder.
Jackie, Megan’s best friend had been murdered. A research scientist on the project described by papers in Megan’s possession had been murdered. Homeless people in the Portland area had committed unprovoked acts of violence leading to their deaths. Megan believed they had been murdered. It was a logical leap of faith to believe that a plan for world domination was afoot and Megan was not sure how to deal with it. Luckily for her, she was able to shoot intruder Luc who had returned to his home earlier than planned and found squatter/renter Megan. Again, luckily for her (and Luc), she had only shot him with a tranquilizer gun, a normal sidearm for any self-respecting veterinarian. As a trained doctor, she was able to repair her damage to Luc. Out of compassion and remorse for damaging a fellow human being, she finds herself engaging in brilliant repartee full of sexual innuendo while discovering, ever luckily, that Luc has a large family living nearby with a great array of characters, all of whom have some connection to law enforcement. And a sister-in-law who is a computer hacker. One must be present in every mystery novel to reveal information that technologically unenlightened mortals could not possibly have access to. Brother Billy is an explosives expert. More good luck.
I do not know whether feminists will enjoy Megan’s use of feminine charms to get out of dangerous situations. The same group might enjoy Luc’s frequently displayed culinary knowledge at world master-chef level as he cooks for Megan when she returns to the cabin after a hard day of undercover operations. Luc cooks while Megan schools him in “cognitive functioning, learning, memory, and information processing.” (p.110).
Take that, oppressive patriarchal society!
Lexi, the computer nerd and married to Luc’s brother Ethan, owns a dog. Matt, Luc’s brother has a dog. Megan, main hero has a dog and is a veterinarian. How serendipitous!
What is this novel’s genre? It could be a medical thriller. It is a mystery. There is a crime. Action sequences are good. The confluence of coincidences makes it fantasy. The story is pleasant and without any depth requiring thought. It is a comfortable, time-consuming read. As to the romance element: at times it is cloying and syrupy. Most times it is unrealistic in that romantic elements occur on the cusp of life-threatening moments.
What about sex scenes? There is only one and it has what was for me one of the most ridiculous descriptions of a sex act; one I hope none of my partners ever uses to describe me:
“He was infinite, universal, and omnipresent with his knowing fingers and unique skill set.” (p. 252). Skill Set. Really??
Having criticized this novel in my indirect way, possibly because it is well out of my normal genre, I must admit it is a well-told story with only one typo. A “censor” (p. 121) is not used to “sense” intruders. Putting that aside, I gave this story three amazon stars. It has twenty-four Amazon reviews in either the four or five-star ratings. In checking my purchase history, Amazon shows I bought the novel on 01 June 2018 for USD 0.99. As of the date of this review, it sells for USD 3.99 so the author must be doing something to impress readers. It is also free on Kindle Unlimited.