Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book Review: Time's Up by Janey Mack (Maisie McGrance #1)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Mostly enjoyable coming of age story
Cons: This book is not a mystery, some clichés, especially in characters
The Bottom Line:
There is some fun here
I am just not the correct
Audience for it

Got Any Change for This Career Change?

I try to be as selective with review requests as I am with the books I purchase.  After all, I’m going to spend the same amount of time reading and reviewing a book whether I buy it or take it for free.  I will admit I hesitated when I was offered an ARC of Time's Up, but that was mainly because I had other books I was dying to read.  The premise sounded good and unique, however, so I accepted it.  Sadly, it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.

Maisie McGrane is the youngest child in her family and the only girl.  She is planning to follow in the footsteps of her father and three of her five older brothers and become a cop.  That is until her psych evaluation comes back.  She failed.

Coupled with the disgrace of washing out, Maisie must also pursue a new career path.  While her mother, wants Maisie to become a lawyer like she and Maisie’s other two brothers are, Maisie hits on another path – meter maid.  Sorry, I mean parking enforcement.  Her reasoning is that if she can prove she can handle this job, she can prove her psych evaluation wrong and get reinstated as a cop.  But does she really have what it takes to handle this job?

Now let’s clear one thing up right now – the genre.  Right on the cover, this book says it is a mystery.  It isn’t.  Yes, there is a dead body (two actually), and yes, Maisie does figure out who the killer is in the end.  However, that is a sub-plot at best and by far the weakest part of the book.  Instead, the focus is on Maisie and her new job and the trouble she gets into on this job.  It’s really more coming of age than anything else.  Then again, I'm the one who classifies Lisa Lutz's popular (and wonderful) Spellman books as dysfunctional family comedy instead of mysteries, so what do I know?

Once I figured the true genre out, I did begin to enjoy the story.  Yes, there were still slow spots, but for the most part, I couldn’t wait to see how Maisie’s actions would get her into trouble next.  The book twists in some unexpected directions, which also helped keep me entertained.

The characters are a mixed bag.  Some of them are very predictable.  Maisie having five older Irish brothers doesn’t exactly break new ground, especially when she complains about her dating life.  Honestly, we really only get to know a couple of the brothers, which does leave room for the others to be developed in future books, because, once again, the focus is on Maisie’s job.

And there we get some great characters.  They are fun and memorable.  Maisie herself is also a delight to spend time with.

I saw one person compare this book to Janet Evanovich, and I’d say that’s a fair comparison.  It’s Evanovich light, but if you enjoy her Stephanie Plumb books, you’ll probably enjoy this.  I’ve only read the first two books in that series, so I probably wasn’t the right audience to begin with.

And like Evanovich, this certainly has more language and sex than I normally read.  Just keep that in mind when you pick up the book.

And that’s what makes rating this book so hard for me.  It’s not that the book is bad, I just don’t think I’m the right audience for it.  If you like Evanovich, consider giving Time's Up a try.  Otherwise, feel free to pass in favor of another book.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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