?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
24 April 2010 @ 04:01 pm
Book Review: "Quicksand" by Iris Johansen  
Paperback: 361 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press Reprint Edition (October 21, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0312368074

Back Cover:

Do you still miss your little Bonnie? This one sentence, spoken by a male voice in an anonymous phone call, is all it takes to drag Eve Duncan right back to that horrifying moment years ago when her only daughter vanished without a trace. Since then, Eve's life has become an obsession to find her daughter's remains. Only one man - a brilliant, ruthless killer - knows the truth about what happened to Bonnie. But taunting Eve might be his first and last mistake...
 
Eve is armed with more than just her talent as a forensic sculptor. She brings with her former Navy SEAL Joe Quinn, an Atlanta detective who will do anything to help Eve put the pain of Bonnie's death to rest. Even if he has to lie to the woman he cares about the most. And even if this killer wants nothing more than to lure Eve further and further into his swamp of madness.

My Review:
I picked up this book after enjoying The Search by the same author, but reading the two stories, one would never guess they were written by the same author. Quicksand follows Eve Duncan, a forensic specialist who spends her time reconstructing bodies with wax faces in order to help identify them. She began this career sometime after losing her own child Bonnie. She's married to Joe Quinn, a detective, and has an adopted daughter named Jane. There's also Montalvo, a man who loves Eve, and let's face it, she has some feelings for him too, but she's married so he's off limits.

Eve and Joe were only minor characters in The Search, and I'm starting to think that was a good thing!

Quicksand is a boring read to put it bluntly. The only thing that kept me reading was my personal goal of reading 50 books over the course of a year. Well, that and I kept hoping it would get better.

Eve Duncan is by far one of the most annoying characters I have yet to come across in a book. Throughout the story she complains about how she's dragging Joe into danger in her pursuit to find Bonnie's killer even though it wasn't his child. It's Eve's quest, after all, so he should sit on the sidelines and stay out of danger. However, Joe refuses to put Eve in danger, and therefore chooses to be more proactive about everything in order to find Bonnie. He is, after all, the one who gets the story going in this novel by finding Kistle, the supposed murderer. But Joe won't let Eve do anything but stay in the hotel, and that makes Eve angry.

"Woeisme! It's my child. I should be able to go after her killer. I hate just sitting here doing nothing Joe! Let me do something!" would pretty much sum up the greater portions of Eve's internal and external dialogue. Or, if you want it in Eve's own words, here's a quote from page 194:
"Everyone wants to protect me and I'm the one causing all this. Change your mind Joe. I'm neither stupid nor helpless. Let me do this alone!"
No, honestly, Eve, you are a bit helpless. It leaves me asking, "Well, Eve, why don't you find a way to be productive and do something instead of sitting there whining about how you aren't doing anything then?"

And yes, Eve, you're stupid too. Joe tells her to stay put while he goes to survey the area to see if Kistle is gone. Eve has to stay and watch Megan though, the psychic who is undergoing serious trauma listening to the deaths of all these children. Eve, in her stupidity, decides it would be an excellent idea to follow Joe and therefore put herself and Megan in danger. Way to go, dumbass. She is a classic example of what has become a very stereotypical view of the helpless, stupid woman character portrayed in movies and books. I wonder if Johansen realized this.

Now, this love triangle between Eve, Joe, and Montalvo is intriguing, I suppose. Or at least, it would be if Johansen would show readers why the characters love each other in the first place. Eve always talks about how much she loves Joe and doesn't want to hurt him and how scared she is that he'll walk away because this business with Bonnie is tearing them apart and yada, yada, yada... However, there is no indication of deep love between the two characters. I don't see what either sees in the other. To be honest, I don't see what either man sees in Eve. She's whiny, completely self-serving, and annoying. Joe and Montalvo have no flaws that I could really find other than Joe's anger, I suppose, at Eve's obsession over Bonnie. At the same time though, Joe is out there trying to find Bonnie too.

Not to mention, I swear I remember Eve finding Bonnie in The Search, which was published in 2000. How then is Eve still looking? I guess this book therefore takes place before The Search, which, while it has the same characters in it, doesn't exactly explain where in the timeline it fits.

Plus, this book is listed as "An Eve Duncan Forensics Thriller." This book is not a forensics book. Eve's work reconstructing skulls is a minor, minor plot that is forgotten and one that remains without a conclusion upon the end of the book. 

The climax was also uninspiring when it came to Eve's roll in it. Kistle, the killer, who isn't even the killer apparently, is the cliched "Absolute evil because there needs to be evil" character. There is no rationale behind what he does, which makes him a flat character and completely unoriginal. Of course, Eve was also a flat character, so I don't know why I expected more from him.

After reading this book, I have to say I am completely disappointed with the Eve Duncan series. I probably won't be reading any others either, but if I do, it'll be a library book where I won't have to waste money like I did on Quicksand. It did at least give me a laugh when I read, "'He's killed another man,' Joe said baldly." I'm not sure how one can do that, but it was a humorous typo at least.

I would have been happier if the story was about Laura Ann, Miguel, and Montalvo. The three of them were at least interesting to read about, and their sections in the story made it worth reading. Unfortunately, the remaining sections made me want to throw the book at the wall.

Overall: 1/5 ~ This book would be better off used as a doorstop or paperweight.
Warning:
 Flat characters, whining, and stale plot ahead!

 



x-posted here.