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Bell to Pay*

Mildly Confusing and High “Ick” Factor

This book centers on investigative reporter Samantha (the Bell of the title) and a computer hacker who has turned murderous, Loxley. The story alternates between their viewpoints, hers in the first person and his in the third person. The first chapter is supposed to draw the reader into the villain’s story, but I found it too bogged down in extraneous detail that slowed down the pace of what could have been an exciting scene. I actually think that Chapter One should have been called a prologue, or at least the author should have stated at the top of the chapters who the viewpoint character is. Written like this, it is a little confusing as you jump from character to character, especially at the beginning before you catch on to the idea that viewpoint character switches when you see the change in person (first vs. third). When writing a book in this fashion–especially a thriller–it is good to know this info without having to overthink it so you can just keep reading without going “What?”, “Huh?”, or “Who?”.

This story had a high level of “ick” factor for me. I don’t really want to know about a killer’s sexual arousal during a crime or at any other time while thinking of his deeds or the protagonist. This certainly happened more often than I felt comfortable with. The book actually had a fairly decent amount of action like you hope for in a thriller, but I thought at times the prose was weighed down with too much detail about superfluous actions or inconsequential objects. Also, I am an RN, and I was appalled that the author had a nurse show Samantha a patient’s medical record–a HIPAA violation that could lose the nurse her job, money, and her license. In all, this book didn’t work for me, and I won’t be reading any more of the series.