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Dark Jenny

Dark Jenny - Alex Bledsoe I'm 3/5ths into the Eddie LaCrosse series of books, and so far, I find the books to be entertaining and readable, but I also have my own issues with them. I've already touched on a few of them (the issue with how all the women in the story are just there to serve the men being the most egregious to me), but reading the books back-to-back like this make them stand out that much more. I won't rehash what I've already covered, but there were a couple of other things I noticed with Dark Jenny.

There's a lot of promise with the story that ultimately goes unfulfilled. The title is one, in that "Dark Jenny" is the nickname of one of the characters, but if you're looking for some portentous reason for her name, you'll be left wanting. You get these hints of where the story could have been epic and profound, but instead it winds up being a whodunnit, complete with gathering all the suspects into one room and having the detective give everyone all the answers. The entire story is told as a flashback with short chapters bringing us back to the present , and there's a surrounding subplot that goes on in the present day to anchor the telling of the story. The problem is that subplot really doesn't have much to do with the telling of the story, except to add a coda on to what happened. Again, it was a moment that could have been bigger, but for whatever reason, Bledsoe chose to take it in a different direction.

The novel has some idiosyncrasies that pulled me out of the story, too, like having a doctor enter a room wearing a white coat and carrying a leather satchel. Keep in mind, this story is set in a Medieval fantasy world, and while I'm not up on what's historically accurate with that era, giving a doctor her modern contrivances only makes her stand out of place. Plus, it sort of turns her character into a cliche, but I noticed that trend in Burn Me Deadly, too, so it wasn't a terrible surprise. Additionally, Bledsoe has a habit of taking a modern cliched turn-of-phrase (deer in the headlights) and rewording it to make it fitting for the story's time (deer in the torchlight). Unfortunately, rewording a cliche doesn't change the fact that it's a cliche.

Despite all that, though, the story is still gripping and well-told. Bledsoe has the chops for telling a good story and keeping you engrossed in what's happening (I mentioned that Burn Me Deadly had a palpable buildup, and Dark Jenny doesn't disappoint in that respect), even as you're finding smaller issues with the story. This isn't a series that I would recommend without reservation, but for people who are looking for a good mystery, or a decent, light fantasy story, they wouldn't go wrong with checking out the books. Just keep in mind that they're not perfect reads and you shouldn't be too disappointed.