Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Book Review: A Bad Day's Work by Nora McFarland (Lilly Hawkins #1)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Character growth, action packed plot
Cons: Character ending felt rushed to me
The Bottom Line
A fast paced story
But the characters really
Make this debut shine

Here's to Many More Bad Days

I have enough books at home I haven't read to keep me busy for a long time.  And I have enough authors I read the last thing I need is a new one.  And yet when a friend whose tastes I respect told me that Nora McFarland's debut was good, I made a point of reading A Bad Day's Work.  My author list definitely grew by one.

The book focuses on Lilly Hawkins, the only female shooter for any Bakersfield TV station.  As the book opens, Lilly is having a string of bad luck.  So when video of a murder scene she snuck behind police lines to film turns out to be blank, she just chalks it up to that.  The string is getting bad enough that her job is on the line, so Lilly is concerned, but she vows to be more careful next time.

Then she is visited by two men demanding the tape and saying they are willing to pay for it.  Those men turn out to be crooked cops.  Soon, she also has a local gang after her, too.  Can Lilly figure out a way to stay one step ahead of everyone chasing her long enough to figure out what the heck is going on?

The book has a very strong plot.  I wouldn't say it's the twistiest of mysteries, but there was enough action to keep me engaged the entire time.  The climax was logical and exciting.

But what I really loved were the characters.  Lilly starts out with one view of the world and slowly has that view rocked by the events of the story.  Additionally, some of the characters are pretty blunt with her.  Watching her evolve is quite interesting.  It's something I don't often see in the books I read, and it makes the character seem even more real.  As the story progresses, Lilly also sees her view of other characters changed by events.

Of course, the characters are also the biggest weakness in the book.  In an effort to wrap up the character sub-plots, I feel that the author pushed some things on us that would have been better developed over two of three books.  I can see the final scene happening, but I didn't quite believe it at this point.  Having said that, I did love the scene, so I'm quibbling over a very small point.

The second book is already out, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it and seeing what happens to Lilly and her friends next.  If you want a fun new mystery series, be sure to check out A Bad Day's Work.

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