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Monday, April 13, 2015

Review: The Altar Girl

I'll admit that while I religiously pick up my free Kindle First book, I rarely get around to reading them, let alone finish them. They don't usually have good writing, and frequently have all too many cliches like Vampires, Zombies, or marrying a billionaire.

The Altar Girl promised to be an exception. First, the protagonist is unusual: a Ukrainian woman  (Nadia Tesla) who separated from her community, and estranged from her family. When her godfather dies, she comes back and discovers that he was probably murdered. Like any other noir novel, her investigations leads her into deeper and deeper trouble, until a "thrilling" conclusion.

The Ukrainian background is authentic (the author himself is Ukrainian), and the heroine herself is more or less competent. The mystery, however, is kinda matter-of-fact, and has a cliched twist that doesn't quite play fair with the reader. (That means that the novel properly falls into the "thriller" category rather than the mystery category)

There's a flashback thread involving an incident in Nadia's childhood that doesn't actually add much, and serves more of a red herring than anything else. While it's good to depict Nadia's character from a young age, there's too big a discontinuity from her childhood event to her depiction as an adult for it to carry much weight.

Nevertheless, the novel is short and doesn't cost a lot of time, so I'd recommend it as an airplane novel. Mildly recommended.

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