RogerBW's Blog

Wave and Die, Stella Whitelaw 14 June 2016

2001 mystery, second in Whitelaw's Jordan Lacey series (private investigation in a small seaside town). Jordan investigates stolen water-lilies, vandalism, theft of a wedding cake, arson, and an errant husband. Oh, and a Second World War aircraft wreck.

It's only book two, and already the continuity is starting to look a bit shaky. Last time Jordan had left the police force because of her asthma; now it's because of a whistle-blowing attempt that went wrong, which obviously leaves her looking a bit more heroic and a bit less inadequate.

Still, she's not terribly good at what she does, and that's the real problem here: she flails about, feeling sorry for herself, having no idea what's going on, missing really obvious clues, and swooning over the unattainable DI James until I found myself actively disliking her (yeah, yeah, you fancy him something rotten, I don't need to hear all about it again, especially when it's distracting you from the really obvious frame you're in that he seems to be falling for)… until suddenly it's the last few chapters and she's able to wrap everything up.

I'm more willing to forgive the way all the cases turn out to be connected, though the ending is abrupt and in places unbelievable. It's a shame that Jordan shouldn't be able to rescue herself from the predicaments she gets into; it makes other people seem to have a point, when they say that the work she's doing is too dangerous for her.

There are odd bits of writing, like "I obediently ladened myself with carrier bags", and referring to a mobile phone's ringtone as a "call sign"; did anyone do this, even in 2002?. Jordan's private life is still a mess, and I find it hard to sympathise with her when she keeps several men on a string, even if they are all horrible losers. Why not just dump them and be cleanly single, if they're so ghastly? (Well, one of them hands her information she should have known from the start…)

If this had been the first book in the series that I'd read, I wouldn't have bothered with another. As it is I'll give Whitelaw one more chance. Followed by Spin and Die.

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Previous in series: Pray and Die | Series: Jordan Lacey | Next in series: Spin and Die

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