After hitting a series high point with “Mission Canyon,” the Evan Delaney series comes back to earth a bit with the third installment in the series.
After two books to introduce Evan and her world to us, Meg Gardiner puts Evan and readers through the wringer in “Jericho Point.” Evan finds out she’s the victim of identity theft and the lead suspect is her fiancee’s younger brother. Things get messy for Evan when the local loan shark starts calling in a loan made her in name and one of the suspects washes up on the beach, the apparent victim of a murder.
“Jericho Point” starts at a furious pace and never lets up, which may be part of the problem facing the book. We start the story on the run and it takes a few chapters to really figure out who everyone is and how they relate to the mystery plot slowly unfolding in the story. There’s a huge amount of plot thrust on readers in the first fifty pages and while I don’t want to sit around and read a plot summary of the first two books, it would be nice to have a moment or two to get warmed up before events start coming fast and furious.
The book proceeds at a good clip with Evan being put through the wringer both physically and emotionally. Eventually, the elements begin to slowly unravel as the pieces begin to fall into place. Readers are treated to some details before Evan, to both add to the suspense and, in some ways, take away from the driving force of the narrative in the last third of the book. And it’s the last third of the book where the problems really come into play. Things suddenly go into hyperdrive with logic and reason thrown out the window. Yes, the mystery fits together in the end, but there are still some things in the final third of the book that come about simply to service the plot and not actually to move things forward in a natural way. I ended up spending the last third of the book rolling my eyes far too many times and wondering how much more we could pile on before things reached a resolution.
Not a good sign.
I wanted to love this novel a lot more than I did. The first two-thirds are good, the last third will leave you scratching your head.