Reviewed: June 28, 2010
Genre: Light/Comedic Romantic Suspense
Series: N/A (Non-Series)
Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 336 Pages
Formats: Mass Market Paperback, Kindle, Nook
Katie Ray is a nervous puker, and the thought that she's getting married in two weeks is enough to have her bent over a commode getting rid of her lunch, breakfast, and half of last night's dinner. Doesn't matter that her fiance Joe is the perfect man. He's been distant lately. And he hasn't ever quite kept Katie's loneliness at bay. But flushing her engagement ring down the toilet during her last purge was strictly an accident, wasn't it? Wasn't it??
Private investigator Carl Hades is hell on women, all right. Or he was. Until a love affair went wrong just over a year ago. Now he spends more time with Victoria's Secret catalogs and his prissy dog Precious. But he keeps himself busy running his business and that business is meeting up with Tabitha Jones, a wedding planner who tells him that her brides are being killed and she thinks she knows who may be doing it. When he arrives at Tabitha's house to get more information, he hears screams and stumbles into a murder and attempted murder in progress, but all he gets for his trouble is getting locked into a freezing room with no heat, no food, and the nervous puker who just watched his newest client get gunned down. And Carl is a sympathy puker.
I can't tell you how much I enjoy Christie Craig's work. Her books just make me giggle. I enjoyed the serial killer plot thread and the development between Katie and Carl. It was hot and fast but with caution befitting the entirety of the situation. What really sets Craig's work apart from other romance books, though, is the attention to detail in little things. Like the frou frou dogs and the pink...er...light red shirt and the fact that Carl's brother Ben looks just like him from behind. And the elephant painting. Those sorts of details bring a sense of humor and reality to the story.
The relationship between Katie and Joe was handled extremely well, with a minimum of angst, and I appreciated that. Nothing sucks the fun out of a romance faster than a jilted party, and I was pleased with the direction this book took instead. There were several solid secondary characters that fleshed this novel out nicely, as well. I wasn't horribly enamored with Katie's best friend Les, but I very much enjoyed Carl's father and brother and sister-in-law. Joe seemed like the quintessential nice guy, too. This book belonged, though, to Katie and Carl. And rightly so. Katie was a plucky contemporary woman who had survived unimaginable tragedy yet hadn't let that stifle her capacity to love...just, maybe, her willingness to risk. She's about one of the kindest female leads I've read recently and on a lot of levels I admired her. I...could've done without the puking, but that's just because I'm just like Carl when it comes to that.
Carl couldn't be any more manly man if he tried. I thought his embarrassment over his less than butch dog was cute as heck and his own past both heartbreaking and endearing. Craig really excels in offering us up characters defined by past trauma that's surprisingly easy to relate to. I admire that. There is a lot to admire in Weddings Can Be Murder.
I did have a few issues with the story, though. This was the first Craig book I've read where I didn't think the resolution to the main relationship had as much of an emotional impact on me as I was hoping it would. I loved the HEA scene in Divorced, Desperate and Dating, so perhaps I was expecting too much, but it fell just a little short for me given how totally shi...er...not good Carl treated Katie just prior to the big revelation, and again, Katie had her own issues that never really got even mentioned until the very end. I would have preferred a bit more time given for Katie to recognize and deal with her own issues left over from controlling, seemingly perfect parents and the loss of her family and seen more how those wounds affected her side of the relationship with Carl. I can't really say that's a complaint, but it did keep my reading enjoyment a bit more modest. One thing, though, that really bugged me. There were a couple of comments and a scene or two that got a little too close to sounding discriminatory and disrespectful of gay men for my tastes. I'm trying to be very cautious saying that, because I in no way want to insinuate that the author discriminates against anyone. There were, however, a few things that didn't sit well with me, mostly in relation to Carl's character, in that regard.
As to a non story-related issue: like I found in Divorced, Desperate and Dating, there were more than a couple of formatting issues on the Kindle version. In fact, there were nineteen that I found when reading. Most of those are exactly the same as in Divorced, Desperate and Dating. The words 'tonight' and 'pleasure' in particular are almost always written 'to night' and 'plea sure,' and believe me when I say, reading a romance, 'pleasure' in particular comes up more than once. It's very distracting to have those words split all the time. That did not, however, affect my review of Weddings Can Be Murder because I don't believe the author has any control over the formatting of her work for Kindle.
I've got a few more lovely stories by this author that I've purchased and I'll stick in between other works, and she's definitely on my must-read list. I enjoyed just about every minute spent reading this book.
Do you have any thoughts, feelings, and/or questions about this review?
This is your chance to express yourself. I would love to hear from you!