Exposed by Joe Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson is one of the most disappointing novels I have ever read that is associated with the name of Joe Konrath. I looked almost in vain for a Konrath contribution and found three instances of humor used that reminded me of the writing of one of my favorite authors. For that reason alone, I gave this novel a pity rating of two Amazon stars. After completion of this novel, I immediately began reading Dying Breath written solely by author Konrath. The writing in Dying Breath was an affirmation of the Konrath talent. I will review that novel in a later post. Remarking on all the ways Exposed is bad will consume wordcount. The mystery for me is, what happened? I am searching for a novel written solely by Anne Voss Peterson. Perhaps this is only one instance in which two writer styles don’t match.
There may be a niche for this type of novel. Martial arts students, readers who like graphic descriptions of breaking bones, and readers who are addicted to pure, uncontaminated action might find Exposed entertaining. Except for a few pages in the first 50% of the Kindle edition, the text is something like this:
1) Chandler twisted (appropriate limb) in a way she had been taught during fighting training. She brought the arm, leg, or finger to almost breaking; OK, let’s break it.
2) Breaking a neck didn’t guarantee death. Smashing a trachea, denying the subject oxygen for a measurable time would do the job more efficiently.
3) Chandler could always get the advantage of a man with her go-to tactic of attacking the groin area. Men were so vain.
4) Identifying physical weak points of an opponent, such as nerves near an elbow, while at the same time reviewing the wise words of her instructor/sensei should ensure victory.
The problem with all the above is that similar situations, sometimes with different opponents as Chandler moves up a ladder of ever more powerful opponents, consume the first 50% of the novel. No identifiable plot points. No character development. Except for the fact that Chandler was trying to extract Julianne from an undefined dangerous situation for an unknown reason, the entire content was as above. Then it got worse, but with more variety.
A Skycrane helicopter does not appear in this story, but several others fly in and out of the story in various roles. Frequently, Chandler either steals them or attempts to do so. Chandler is very versatile to have such universal skills. Pilots are checked out on aircraft that have specific designations. There are no such designations in Exposed, so Chandler is free to be the Universal Helicopter Pilot. I want my Skycrane helicopter.
Police officers are routinely trained in counting shots fired. First essential training focuses on the officer’s assigned weapon. The objective is that a trained police officer would never unexpectedly run out of ammunition. Secondarily, if an opponent in a firefight shot more than six rounds, the police officer knows the opponent is not using a “wheel gun.” Field tactics can be adjusted. If an opponent is using a weapon that can fire 30 rounds, the police officer is not counting rounds. Remembering where one is in the thirty-count while moving and firing in response should be absurdly obvious. More absurdity is apparent if, and this is not always the case, there is more than one opponent. Killer teams love group work.
Exposed contains a sex scene (at 80% of the novel) that is so gratuitous and out of place that it would be laughable if the reader did not see it as a device to hit a mark that sells novels. Got to have sex scenes. Got to have politically correct stuff but that is covered in one part by the female Chandler. Also, the sex scene (not a spoiler, really) leaves the male partner a literal husk of his former self. Very satisfying.
Only a few days ago in a post that explained my lack of posting for a few days, I mentioned that I had to learn to shut the book when the writing lacked any discernable merit or entertainment value. I have yet to learn my lesson and follow my advice. Exposed is cringe-worthy. The story, if one can be found, should be classified as burn before reading.
And all this is from a fan of Joe Konrath.