Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Book Review: Double Whammy by Gretchen Archer (Davis Way Crime Capers #1)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Characters; glamor, fun
Cons: Too many logical flaws, especially in the final third
The Bottom Line:
Casino caper
I think I over thought it
Wanted to like more

I Wanted to Like this Book More Than I Actually Did

Obviously, I have a very hard time getting to all the books I intend to read.  That’s why Gretchen Archer’s Davis Way series has been on my radar for years but I finally just picked up the first book in the series, Double Whammy.  I really wanted to enjoy it, but it had too many issues for me to fully do so.

When we meet Davis Way, she has finally landed a job.  Working for the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, might not be her dream job, but after a year of unemployment, she’ll take anything she can find.  As a former police officer in her small home town of Pine Apple, Alabama, she is perfect for taking on under cover security for the casino and hotel, finding guests and employees who are trying to make their own luck.

Her first assignment is to figure out how people are winning the big jackpot on the Double Whammy video poker machines.  Unfortunately, the man who is cashing in each time the jackpot gets high is her ex-ex-husband Eddie.  Can she figure out how he is cheating the system?  Even more importantly, can she do it without getting into more trouble over this man she thought was out of her life?

While I don’t like to gamble myself (I hate to lose money on it), I find the glitch and glamor of casinos to be fascinating, which is why I’ve been drawn to these books.  And we do get a healthy dose of that glamor here.  Okay, so some of Davis’s jobs along the way are less than glamorous, but the entire book had a sheen to it that kept me from seeing some of the flaws until I had finished the book.

First up is the plot.  There is a good plot here, however, it is slowed down by some side trips that don’t do much to add to the overall story.  Davis has a complicated backstory as well, and we are treated to that in small doses as the book progresses.  Considering I hate having backstory dumped on me, I did appreciate how that was doled out.  The main storyline of the book does have some interesting twists and surprises to it, but I wish it had been more the focus of the entire book.

Which brings us to the characters.  Davis is an interesting main character, and I can see plenty of potential in the supporting characters to grow into even more complex characters as the series progress.  I liked the cast, which again I think helped me overlook some of the issues.

My issues come to Davis herself.  She makes some incredibly stupid choices over the course of the book, especially in the final third.  Honestly, she is extremely lucky that she even made it out of the mess she was in.  I wouldn’t have done what some of the other characters had done to help her.  Of course, there are some other flaws with this part of the book, but I’m being vague to avoid spoilers.  I just had a hard time swallowing the final third of the book, which is ironic because that was also the part that kept me turning pages the fastest.  Again, it was only when I was done with the book that I began to question what had happened.

This book bills itself as a comedic caper, and I think that may be part of the issue.  I find that they either work well or completely miss the mark as far as I’m concerned.  The series has quite a few fans, so I’m obviously in the minority when it comes to this book, which leaves me wondering what exactly I am missing when it comes to this debut.  Is it me?  Or are others having too much fun to think things through as much as I am?

I bought this book a couple of years ago (told you it’s been on my radar for a while), and after I bought it, the authors released a “Special Edition” that was edited to make it flow better.  She was nice enough to give me a copy of that new edition, and that is what I read.

Ultimately, I think I am just the wrong audience for Double Whammy.  Based on the number of people who love it, there is definitely a fan base out there for Davis and her antics; I’m just not part of it.

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