Review of "Promissory Payback" by Laurel Dewey

Rating: 2 Stars
Category: Crime, Mystery

Publisher: The Story Plant
Pub Date: August 2011

Kindle Format: 752 lines
Hardcover Format: 80 pages

Kindle edition: $0.89
Hardcover: $3.51

Product Description from the Publisher: Laurel Dewey’s Detective Jane Perry is quickly becoming one of the most distinctive, dynamic, and unforgettable characters in suspense fiction today. She’s rock hard, but capable of extraordinary tenderness. She’s a brilliant cop, but she’s capable of making life-altering mistakes. She’s uncannily talented, and she’s heartbreakingly human.

In this novella, Jane is called in to investigate the gruesome murder of a woman who profited greatly from the misfortunes of others. The case leaves Jane with little question about motive…and with a seemingly endless number of suspects.

Review: This was my first “Jane Perry” detective novel. I received a courtesy copy from the publisher to review. While the concept of Promissory Payback is classic detective fiction and the storyline is clever, the book’s many issues with character development keep it from a higher rating. Specifically, the actions and behaviors of many of the characters are inconsistent with the descriptions of their personalities and the dialogue is sometimes forced and unrealistic. I found myself rolling my eyes several times.

As Dewey continues to develop the character of Jane Perry in future novellas, she might consider creating a “softening side-kick” for Perry – one with whom Perry can talk over ideas, strategies, motives, etc., and who can bring out Perry’s softer, more human side. Of course, I understand the challenge of fully developing a set of characters in a novella as short as Promissory Payback, but the extra effort would raise the quality of this book substantially. Still, for $3.51 in print and $0.89 on Kindle, it’s a good value for a quick airplane or vacation read.

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