Thursday, May 29, 2014

Love You To Death, by Jackie Uhrmacher - Review

Title: Love You To Death
Author: Jackie Uhrmacher
Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: September 22, 2013
Reviewing: Paperback
Reason for reading: Received a copy directly from the author at RT14. Alcohol was involved.

The Short Answer 
Flawed, but fun.

The Whole Scoop
Whatever you do, don't read the blurb.  It's a total spoiler for what I thought was the best twist in the story. Because the book was handed to me, and I read it amidst much chaos, somehow I got to the end without reading the blurb on the back and I think my reading experience was much better for it!

Here is as much of the blurb as you should read:
Killing husbands is a hobby for best friends Jill O'Connor and Elle Cooper. Everything changes when Jill marries Marcus Reed, husband number four. Eight years after they first met and three months into the marriage, Jill begins to wonder if maybe he’s the one man worth sparing.
Despite the heroine and her sidekick being serial killers, I still found them endearing, with a curious sweetness under the wise-cracking black humor; I mean, take a look at that cover art. It's a perfect encapsulation of the book: a little gory, a little silly, and doesn't she look like she's having fun?  The sympathetic serial-killer hook works because you just can't take this story seriously enough to call it "problematic."

I loved how the tension built between Marcus and Jill, on several levels. He plays a mental game with her, AND rocks her sexual world, but I loved how that wasn't enough for Jill to just fall for him. He really works for it, and so does she. Love You To Death is a RomCon Reader crown finalist, so I'm not the only one who enjoyed it.

Where it fell down a little bit for me was that as killers, the girls didn't seem very... competent. They talked a lot, in public places, about their plans. They kept some kind of scrapbook or binder with notes and plans and "how to" type articles, I guess, which totally alarmed me on their behalf.  Also, the facts of the story arc didn't hang together quite right for me.  The book opens with Jill feeling torn about offing her newest husband. It isn't until pretty deep in the book that it comes out that she has known him for a long time, since before her killing career began, and that felt confusing to me.  There was also some nonsense in there about a birthday party and about a dozen completely extraneous secondary characters. I do not know what Ms. Uhrmacher did about editing, but I think a good beta reader or a content editor could have made this book stronger.

Do note that this is a 100-page short piece; more of a novella than a traditional single-title work.  It moves along quickly and you're likely to finish it in one or two sittings.  I think the shortness works in its favor - I'm not sure the tension could have been sustained over a longer page count and I felt like it ended in a very satisfying way.  There is definitely some sequel-baiting going on and I'm looking forward to Elle's story next.

Bottom Line
If quirky black humor is your thing, I would strongly recommend this. Humor is VERY subjective, but the first two or three pages are available as an excerpt online, and I think they are a good representation of the novel. If you like them, then pop for the 99 cents and give it a read! I look forward to seeing more from Uhrmacher.

Around the blogosphere:
Fiction Vixen dueling review (remember, don't read the blurb!)
Bitten by Books, with a much better synopsis and no spoiler


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