Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book Review: Too Big to Miss by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Odelia Grey #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong plot and lovable main character
Cons: A bit too much about sex for my tastes
The Bottom Line:
A smart, fun debut
With engaging, twisty plot
And great characters

Odelia Grey Makes a Debut Too Good to Miss

I have been avoiding Sue Ann Jaffarian's Odelia Grey mysteries for years.  The series stars a plus size paralegal, and I assumed the books would feature plenty of preaching about our slender loving society.  But I got worn down over the years and finally read Too Big to Miss.  Turns out, I didn't know what I was missing.

When Odelia gets the news, she can't believe it.  Sophie London, one of her best friends, committed suicide.  The police are certain of their conclusion since her death was broadcast over the internet.

But Odelia decides to start poking around and discovers a few things she didn't know about Sophie, like the porn site Sophie ran starring herself.  Odelia is plenty impressed since Sophie was also a plus size woman.  As more secrets about Sophie's life emerge, Odelia begins to piece things together.  Will she figure out who orchestrated Sophie's death?

I will admit, I was partially right about the book.  There were a few scenes that dealt with weight prejudice.  But they were never too preachy and did feel a natural part of the book.

And the plot never suffered.  True, it did seem to take about 50 pages to truly get rolling, but once it did, I didn't want to put the book down.  There were plenty of twists and surprises along the way, and I kept scratching my head trying to figure out how it would all come together.  The climax brought everything together for a logical wrap up.  And it was emotionally satisfying even if a minor detail or two weren't explained completely to us.

On top of that were the fun characters.  I really did like Odelia.  She was the perfect mix of strong yet vulnerable.  She already feels like a friend.  I also like the love interest and look forward to watching their relationship grow as the series progresses.  The rest of the supporting cast is good, although they do feel a little underdeveloped.  Not so the suspects, who are strong.  I appreciated the fact that the police detective in the book wasn't the typical clueless idiot I normally find.

Because Sophie's porn site plays such a big part in the story, there were several scenes that were a bit more detailed then I normally like.  Additionally, there's a sex scene I could have done without.  But I just couldn't put the book down.  I just skimmed on to the next scene I felt comfortable reading so I could learn what happened.

This may be a debut, but the writing is strong and assured.  Odelia's first person narration draws you further into the story.

I'm sorry my assumptions kept me from enjoying Too Big to Miss for so long.  I plan to spend more time with Odelia in the very near future.

Once you are hooked like me, you'll race through the rest of the Odelia Grey Mysteries in order.

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