A good story draws the reader in. From the outset you want to know more about the characters and the situations they find themselves in.
From that perspective, Rachel Dylan has been successful with her latest novel, Deadly Proof. I wanted to know more about lawyer Kate Sullivan and her battle with a big pharmaceutical company. I could even ignore that there was a strong undercurrent of romance to this book (you may remember I have sworn off romances for a while).
I will admit though that I am a picky reader. I understand that in fiction there is a necessary (at times) suspension of disbelief required. Given that, I laid aside my thoughts that the shootings in this novel were improbable at best. The first one is necessary for the plot, though I didn’t buy the rationale for the second one at all.
Deadly Proof is an interesting story, a not un-typical courtroom drama. I might quibble with some of the procedures, but Rachel Dylan is a lawyer and I am not, so I will allow her to take what I saw as procedural liberties. Big trials take years, the whole thing seemed a little rushed to me, but a shortened time span is probably necessary for the action.
The story made for great bedtime reading. As my day winds down, I’m looking for fiction that will keep me entertained, and Deadly Proof certainly was that. I do regret though that whomever edited this novel didn’t push the author to deliver a little more. It is an enjoyable read, but I noticed a couple of flaws that shouldn’t have been there. That is why authors have editors – the editor is supposed to be able to bring an objective viewpoint and see what needs to be done to make a good story great.
Where is mention of the Food and Drug Administration, the government body that licenses drugs in the US? How can you have a novel about drug testing that doesn’t mention the FDA? If you are suing a company, alleging that it allowed a harmful drug to be marketed, wouldn’t there be at least some mention of the approval process? Maybe my viewpoint has been influenced by Arthur Hailey’s Strong Medicine and other similar novels I read in my youth.
I also felt that there was too much “tell” and not enough “show” in the story. Given the strong plot, the novel could easily have had another 50 or 100 pages. I felt too often we were being told things we should have discovered over time, just to get the points out there. That led to some conversations between Kate and her private investigator/security guard that I feel went far beyond the information that a lawyer would normally convey to a non-litigator. I won’t comment on the romance in the novel – except to say it wasn’t necessary to the plot and as a result probably weakened the book. (Though maybe not to female readers, or is that a stereotype I shouldn’t bring up?)
The question when I read a book by an author new to me is: does this book encourage me to read other works by this writer? Despite its flaws, Deadly Proof does that.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”