Did I pick this up because the author’s name is ‘Sparkle Hayter’? You betcha. Random Book Trolling has failed me again.
Ok so. Robin’s apartment burns down and she ends up in her friend Tomayo’s place in the Chelsea Hotel (which is RIFE with ARTISTS and HISTORY and QUIRKS and you will get a FULL LESSON at EVERY TURN about said artists etc.) but some other girl is also staying at Tomayo’s (Tomayo is, for the record, off in Asia somewhere, but is free and easy with her personal property). And then a random man that you (the reader) have barely met dies under what I guess are mysterious circumstances (in that no one knows who did it, not in that he was torn apart by a bear on Saks Fifth in the daytime and THAT’S a story I would read) and the Girl Who Is Not Robin But Who Is Also Staying At Tomayo’s disappears but you sort of already hated her by then and don’t mind, except that that’s the ‘it’ of the ‘whodunit.’
And there aren’t enough hooks, tenter or otherwise, to make you care. There’s no THERE there. Robin and sundry friends (and frenemies) go on this long, tedious goose chase and in the end, they find the girl. Tha’s it. And I guess to add flavor, Robin has love issues wherein she decides that a.) the French boyfriend of the frenemy she’s sleuthing with is the SAME GUY Robin had a fling with (because they’re both French, see) and who b.) she now decides she loves because c.) ladies be lovin’ the mens they can’t have.
And it isn’t bad writing, but it’s boring writing. Cliche-clever, you know? ‘Old watering hole,’ ‘card-carrying feminist.’ These are the things you say when you don’t want to say the same old thing but you can’t think up a new thing. And even when she’s being inventive it’s still sort of dumb. One of the Bad Guys’ toupees is so terrible it answers the ‘age-old question: Can space monsters mate with earth women?’ Which is coincidentally my password-retrieval security question.
And I know that adverbs are a contentious topic, seperating fathers from sons and husbands from wives, but check-a this out: ‘Roo gratuitously patted her arm sympathetically.’ I’ll tell YOU from gratuitous (do you see what I did there? Because there is a gratuitous amount of adverbs, and the word ‘gratuitously’ is ONE OF the adverbs? Jokes.).
Also, Hayter might be allergic to brevity. Why else would she be using someone’s name or a phrase like ‘the maid’s room’ three times in succession when we have the pronoun, and how else do you explain the following:
‘Did he start to smell after she lost her sense of smell?’
‘I’m guessing it happened after she lost her sense of smell.’
This is apparently one in a series of ‘Robin Hudson mysteries,’ but since the sleuthing is But I didn’t — We know you did — Ahhh, ya got me, since it’s that school of sleuthery I think I’ll take a pass.