Every now and again, I get a book to review. It’s one of the perks of this gig–no one is sending me free designer wedding dresses to review, so I have to content myself with books about weddings. Sometimes those books are fiction, which is great because I love a good story. Once in a great blue while, I’m actually surprised by what I get.
So what was so surprising about Janice Thompson‘s Gone With the Groom? It’s a Christian wedding mystery. Somewhere along the PR line, I either failed to notice that the book is from a Christian imprint (Barbour Publishing) or the public relations jockeys failed to tell me. Not that it matters much to me whether a book is Christian, Islamic, or pro-FSM–I’ll read just about anything.
If you like a really lighthearted mystery novel with lots of references to the big G, you’ll probably get a kick out of this book. If, however, you’d prefer something a little darker and more realistic, I’d advise you to look elsewhere. This book has got plenty of sugar and you may just get a cavity if you’re not used to the brand of storytelling where everyone loves each other and proclaims it loudly and proudly, all the flippin’ time.
The big problem with the story is that it’s convoluted. The titular groom disappears two weeks before the wedding, and no one who knows him can believe that it’s just cold feet. Enter Annie, MOB and crack amateur detective…for some reason, everyone in town spills their guts when she comes a’callin with her notepad. She has her theories about who’s to blame for the groom’s absence: the big pharma company, the groom’s own deadbeat dad, the shifty local photog, and the MOG’s “political enemies.”
Why the scare quotes? Well, I’m hard pressed to believe that a local paper from one of Atlanta, GA’s suburbs is going to send a reporter all the way up to the snowy north to tail a woman running for town council. I’ve been a local paper reporter…they won’t even give us overtime to cover the city council elections, much less chase candidates up and down the coast.
It’s pretty obvious from the start who the culprit is…just look for the most stereotypically suspicious character and you can’t help but guess right. You’ll have to suspend your disbelief with a system of complex pulleys if you intended to sit down and enjoy this book. I’ll state for the record that I’m no big mystery fan, but I’m plenty able to identify the plot holes a’plenty in Gone With the Groom. I won’t say don’t buy it–it’s a fun little story. It just could have been a lot better.