REVIEW: The Girl From Blind River, Gale Massey

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Everyone says the Elders family are nothing but cheats, thieves, and convicts—a fact nineteen-year old Jamie Elders has been trying desperately to escape. She may have the natural talent of a poker savant, but her dreams of going pro and getting the hell out of the tiny town of Parsons, New York are going nowhere fast. Especially once she lands in a huge pile of debt to her uncle Loyal. At Loyal’s beck and call until her debt is repaid, Jamie can’t easily walk away—not with her younger brother Toby left at his mercy. So when Loyal demands Jamie’s help cleaning up a mess late one night, she has no choice but to agree. But disposing of a dead man and covering up his connection to the town’s most powerful judge goes beyond family duty. When it comes out that the victim was a beloved athlete and Loyal pins the murder on Toby, only Jamie can save him. But with a dogged detective on her trail and her own future at stake, she’ll have to decide: embrace her inner criminal, or defy it—and face the consequences. 

If I am being honest, the Girl From Blind River felt like a first draft - the writing was clunky and incredibly characteristic of the poor-standard that I have come to expect from so many mystery/thrillers; the characters, in an attempt to make the main character’s life as awful as possible, felt more like caricatures than real human beings; and the tedium of the poker descriptions were just really unnecessary.
Please, for the love of god, can authors start picking plot-centric features that aren’t ’she did this, and then he did this, and then she thought for a moment and then did this’?? Like, I know, I know, I hate poker, but I think even a seasoned player would be driven up the wall by the formulaic, step-by-step way it was described.
There was no action in the descriptions, no excitement.
Just a bunch of characters putting cards on a table for no discernible reason.
And, what reason did they have?
The main character, Jamie, had all of the resources she needed to get out of her supposedly-horrific situation, but she chose instead to stay and play poker. And why? Because, as the only female, she was the only one with any sense of responsibility (that is including her brother, who was only something like ten months younger than her) and therefore, had no solo agency until she got all of the males in her life out of the terrible situation as well.
I spent all of my time reading this willing her to run, to go, to say fuck-you to them all and leave them all behind. At least, until I just couldn’t find the energy to do it anymore.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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