Anxiety - A Tale of Murder, Mystery and Romance: A Smoke and Mirrors Book, Episodes 1 through 6, H.D. Thomson

Anxiety: Episodes 1 through 6 - A Tale of Murder, Mystery and Romance (A Smoke and Mirrors Book) by [Thomson, H. D.]

This book felt so much longer than it actually was.  There was intrigue, darkness, danger, mystery, secrets, betrayal, murder, and passion.  And while that sounds like a great list of things to have in a suspense romance, it's only a good thing if each piece is done well.

The intrigue is probably the most frustrating part.  There are a number of players and not all of them are known in the beginning.  Obviously, right?  We can tell who the true villain is and then a couple more get thrown in at the end to satisfy...something.  Not trying to be vague, but the extra players really could just be omitted and the story might actually be better.  We also have Jack, the guy who we hope is good but aren't sure of at first.  However, we do have the benefit of having his point of view and can see that aside from being a complicit-by-silence kind of guy in his past, he's not really all bad.  There's a lot more to it but it's pretty formula and not a spoiler to say that, in my opinion.  I mean, there's a surprise/twist that comes at the very, very end and I certainly won't spoil that mess for anyone.

Darkness and danger go hand in hand here.  Not only is there the metaphorical darkness in the soul and mind, but also the physical darkness that gives an ironic clarity to a different kind of danger.  Not exactly the danger you'd expect, though.  There's a lot of allusions to something much more sinister than what we see plays out.  Just a lot of insecurity and crazy science gone wrong...or right?

Mystery and secrets obviously go hand in hand here too, but in a much less effective way.  We actually never get any concrete answers to pretty much anything.  The serum is dangerous, yes, but how?  Why?  When we see what it does at like, the 80% mark we can infer the reason behind keeping it a secret and knowing it's a dangerous thing in the wrong hands but we're led to believe that there's going to be like a plague or an explosion or something.  Misleading information is not mystery, it's just setting us up for confusion.  A lot of secrets do get revealed but the way it's done is just shy of formulaic monologuing from a surprise source and even then it doesn't really answer everything.

Betrayal, murder, both of those things are there and the betrayal part was kind of a surprise.  There are hints that something else, someone else, has a part in all the bad drama but those mostly get brushed under the rug with all the other craziness running around.

And then there's the passion.  Passion can be sexual, it can also come from anger.  There's plenty of both.  From Margot we also get righteous indignation and vehement accusations and denial.  Between Jack and Margot it's clear from near the beginning that there's going to be some bedroom passion and I can't blame them.  With all the physical describing they do and the intense circumstances surrounding them it's pretty inevitable.  Whether it's wise and/or something that will last beyond all the drama is another thing altogether.

While her dealing with all the turmoil around her with liberal consumption of alcohol numbs her for a short while, it doesn't help her use her very intelligent brain.  There are numerous instances where she doesn't use her brain, she acts like a damsel in distress, and her drowning in wine gets in the way of figuring out what in the world is going on around her.  I feel like the alcoholism thing was too much.  Her "need" for the oblivion that comes from drink I can understand, to a point, but when it becomes the focus for many, many scenes, it detracts from what the plot is actually trying to achieve.

Overall there were so many moments that distracted from the point of the story, didn't delve deeply into character development, added too much drama, and never got answered that I had a really hard time finishing the story.  It was slow until everything blew up right at the end.  We're left with some mystery left over that segues into the next set of stories for another pivotal character, which is fine, but it's the vague answers that don't satisfy what drew us in in the first place that leaves me wondering why I didn't just move on to the next book on my TBR list.  I can't recommend the story despite being very intrigued by the synopsis.  I'm also going to admit that if I get a chance to read Johnny's story, I will.  I apparently enjoy literary abuse that way.

*$3.99 for ALL 6 EPISODES on Amazon!
 Anxiety - A Tale of Murder, Mystery and Romance: A Smoke and Mirrors Book, Episodes 1 through 6, H.D. Thomson

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