When a book falls flat

I'm a voracious reader, in addition to being a writer. At the moment I'm piecing together a paranormal/science fiction romance mashup featuring shapeshifters. Cat shapeshifters, mountain lions to be specific. So I'm in devouring ("market research") mode.

Since I'm still waiting for the next Dark-Hunter book to show up at the library I settled on something my library actually has on the shelf, Savage Hunger by Terry Spear. It was my first official were-shifter book, and my first book by her. Sad to say I won't be reading anymore of hers, not even the sequel to Savage Hunger or A SEAL in Wolf's Clothing. (I have a thing for SEAL's, to the point where I could overlook the fact he's a werewolf instead of a werecat)

As a reader several things bugged me. The dialog was stilted, I never really connected with the characters, reactions to events weren't just wrong, but not there at all. The whole thing fell apart for me when she tried to bring in some PTSD elements, and utterly failed.

As a writer, I kept reading so I could figure out exactly where it went wrong and she lost me. So I did. I finished it yesterday afternoon.

It comes down to character motivation. It was there on the surface, but it didn't go deep enough. Connor didn't give Kat enough of a reason to stay with him. Maya, his twin sister, was childish and borderline annoying. Maya turned Kat into a shifter, and Kat never went through *any* of the stages one would expect to cope with what's happened to her. Especially in light of the fact she was suffering from PTSD, which I didn't buy one bit because it seemed like an afterthought.

Then there were the military pieces of the plot, which I also didn't buy. I'm no military expert, but I know my way around how things work. The setup Spear used, despite her time in the Army Reserves, is something I don't believe for a second could actually happen. Especially in Columbia. She had Kat participating in a drug cartel sting. The general Army doesn't do that. Spec ops does. And women aren't allowed in spec ops for very good reasons.

Going back to the dialog, it never sounded real. Then there was all the passive sentence construction, telling instead of showing, unsympathetic characters. This thing was set in the Amazon jungle and I never once *felt* like I was in the Amazon. The descriptions of the jungle were lackluster at best, and absent most of the time.

Sorry, Ms. Spear. I tried, but you didn't hook me.


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