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I look forward to the books in this historic mystery series because they are so evocative of farm and family life in early 1900s Oklahoma. To me, book 6 just was not up to the previous five books in the series.
Much of this difference was due to formatting. This book is very choppy--comprised of 104 (!!!) short chapters--some only 3 minutes long. I checked and the previous books all had an average of 8-10 chapters and the total book lengths were all similar. This format change really had a profound effect on the ability of the book to grab and hold the attention. The action and flow of the story are ruined by all the stops and starts and odd pauses and announcements for the endless chapter titles. Many of these frequent breaks make no sense in the story line and as such are unnecessary distractions.
Further, rather than Casey's usual fluid and smooth story telling we have many awkward flashbacks and uneven character development. The wonderful family interaction and varied and complex characters are missing from this installment. I found myself unable to maintain interest in the mystery and really couldn't care less who did what and to whom. This is a terrible thing to say about a mystery--I know and I am disappointed. I can't seem to bring myself to finish the book. The 2 star rating is only because I love the series--if not for that it would have been all one stars. I hate wasting my time reading rough, unedited drafts.
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