The Cove is a quaint little postcard town made up only of old folk who sell the World's Greatest Ice Cream - a secret recipe that brings lots of tourists into town.Into The Cove comes Sally Brainerd, daughter of murdered Amory St. John, of Washington, D.C., seeking sanctuary, and FBI Special Agent James Quinlan, who's undercover and after her. He's got a murder to solve, and he believes she's the key. But is she really?
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I'm one of those people who has a hard time with sexual violence of any kind and also with victims who are utterly betrayed by loved ones and those who say they'll protect them and keep them safe. Psychological abuse is also hard for me, too. So, I don't typically read suspense thrillers and tend to stick to romances or mysteries that mix in a good helping of humor and maybe a little romance. However, a good friend told me that she thought that I'd like the third book in this series, and being a stickler for doing things the "right" way, I decided to start with the first book, namely The Cove.
Oh, this book was so hard for me to get through because of the issues that I laid out in the first two sentences of this review. There is quite a bit of sexual abuse and emotional victimization (or maybe it just seemed like a lot to me) in a main character's past, and she was so powerless at the time to do anything about it and told that it hadn't really happened and was all in her head, it makes me sad just thinking about it. Also, even in the current timeline of the story, it's hard for her to know who she really can trust at any given moment. So, any readers who have trouble reading about this type of thing really shouldn't read this book. Maybe other readers won't feel it was as bad as this, but I was so depressed while getting through most of the book. I knew that the best thing was to see it through because my imagination would probably take it to even worse places in my mind if I didn't just find out how it all played out.
I agree with some of the other reviewers that the writing wasn't great, either. However, I've been known to forgive that before if there are other factors at times that make up for it in my eyes (such as colorful, compelling characters, great dialogue, creative twists and turns, a great love story, etc.). I don't think that I'll ever listen to this book again, even knowing how the plot resolves itself and knowing it may not be so dark and painful for me the next time because I now know the manner in which everything ends for each of the characters.
The only reason that I MIGHT re-read it is that there are characters in this book that show up and cross over with other books in the series. I just finished reading the second book in this series titled The Maze (since I'd bought the first three books in the series and am too cheap to not at least TRY to read what I've paid for), and I recommend that one. The writing still may not be Pulitzer Prize material, but I thought that it was much better and liked all but a few of the characters so much more than I did those of The Cove. Because The Maze's main characters are mostly FBI agents working together on cases, I think that gave the story-line more stability and Coulter was able to get a better handle on her plot, rather than The Cove's ever-shifting "What's going on in this sleepy, innocent little town, or am I just crazy to think that anything bad is going on?" This reminded me a bit more of the Patricia Cornwell novels that I used to read years ago, before I decided that the psychos that she tries to catch in those books were too dark and depressing for escapist reading (for me, at least). I'm hoping that the third book (which is actually the one that my friend said I should read) will be more like The Maze than The Cove.
The narrator did a good job. She can't be blamed for anything wrong with this book.
Bottom line for this review: skip this one and start with The Maze.
I know Catherine Coulter has a faithful following, but after forcing myself to the halfway point in this book, I don't understand why.
The characters are flat and uninteresting. The plot is utterly predictable. The writing is uninspired. I guess I could say something nice about Sandra Burr who did a reasonable job of narrating an insipid story.