Description Review: No Turning Back (Kathleen Turner #1) by Tiffany Snow

Kathleen Turner has goals. She moved to Indianapolis to start seeing to them, but things aren’t going quite as well as she’d hoped. She’s a runner for a high-powered law firm in town, not the most prestigious of positions, but it and her part-time bartender gig at least pays the bills. And one of the senior partners is a dreamboat in that obscenely rich, disturbingly good looking, slightly snobbish sort of way.

Before she did a mortifying face plant in his lap during a meeting, she was quite happy ogling him from afar. After that…well…she was more about the avoiding. Mature, no. More likely to assure she keeps her job, yes.

She’s made some friends in the few months she’s been in Indy. One of those friends is her neighbor Sheila, though Kathleen can’t say she’s completely comfortable with Sheila’s job choice as a high-dollar escort.

It’s the middle of the night when Kathleen hears fighting coming from Sheila’s apartment. As disturbing as that is, it’s the ominous sound of silence afterwards that keeps Kathleen from falling back to sleep. Slipping from bed with the intention of making sure everything is okay, Kathleen knocks on friend’s door, only to find Sheila murdered, her naked body sprawled on sheets stained crimson with her blood.

Shock and horror are followed by gritty determination when it becomes clear that Sheila’s death isn’t random and it isn’t the result of a jealous boyfriend. It’s the opening gambit in a web of murder, deceit, conspiracy, and fraud that stretches to the law firm for which Kathleen works. Maybe to the very office that Blane Kirk commands.

And Kathleen Turner, law office runner, can trust no one if she wants to survive.

 

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Source: This book was reviewed at Little Read Riding Hood on August 13.

Review:

First off, this was a long blurb, and I won’t lie—it made me not want to read the whole thing. That’s not a good sign if you’re trying to encourage people to read your book. Tag onto that an incorrect conjugation in the first sentence (“it and her part-time bartender gig at least pay the bills”), and this isn’t off to a good start for me.

The next couple of paragraphs proceed to tell me what seems like everything I need to know to predict the progression of the book: girl witnesses murder, girl ends up on a hit list, girl ends up somehow in a romantic situation with a hot guy (read: her boss), things get solved in the knick of time. And, by the way, there are yet more typos: “Kathleen knocks on friend’s door” feels an awful lot like jotted down notes rather than a meaningful illustration of events.

I certainly don’t mean to belittle this book at all. I haven’t read it, and I’m sure the pages inside are nice and polished (maybe?)—even if they’re not, I don’t mind reading around a few typos. But if you’re going to present your book to the world with only a few (or more, why not?) paragraphs, they should be representative of your best writing. In business school we were taught (quote, unquote) to “sell” ourselves (you know, it’s been a few years and my mind still goes to the gutter whenever I use that expression) for employment with a 30 second elevator speech. That’s just to one, maybe a few people at a time. The back of your book needs to be suitable for a much broader audience.

What’s interesting is that there is a completely different blurb depending on where you look. Over at Little Read Riding Hood, the description goes more like this:

Being a bartender by night and law firm runner by day helps make ends meet for Kathleen Turner. Mostly. Being 23 and single in Indianapolis wasn’t exactly a thrilling adventure, but then again, that’s not what Kathleen wanted. At least, not until she met Blane Kirk.

Navy SEAL turned high-profile attorney, Blane is everything a woman could want. The only problem? He’s her boss.

Blane is known for playing the field and the last thing Kathleen needs or wants is to get involved with him. But when her friend is murdered and it seems Kathleen will be next, she may not have a choice.

Now Blane is the only thing standing between her and people who want her dead, including assassin-for-hire Kade Dennon. Beautiful but deadly, he’ll kill anyone who gets in his way, even the woman who makes him question everything he’s become.

The deeper she sinks into the web of lies and murder, the more Kathleen realizes she can trust no one if she’s going to survive. No one is innocent. Not even Blane.

First off, the first two sentences both start with “Being” — if there were a third sentence that followed the same structure, I’d be happy enough for the repitition if a point were actually being made. As it is, there are only 2, and there’s not much of a point. But we’ll let that slide; I have more to talk about with this one.

Quite frankly, this description tells me a different story.

Let’s talk about genre. The original description makes this seem like mystery with a bit of romance thrown in (probably in equal parts?). The second description makes it very evident that this is a romance story with a little bit of mystery/suspense. As a potential reader, and one who is very mindful of genre, I get vastly different impressions of the book from each description.

What I really don’t understand in the second description is how the murder results in Kathleen not having a choice about getting involved with Blane. This confuses me, which may or may not be good. I actually read this description several times in an attempt to make all of the pieces fit together sensibly. It’s very possible that these issues will be worked out in the book and the intent of the description is to be vague—in my opinion, it’s a fairly poor execution. Gaps in your description should be teasers that entice you, make you want to learn more. Not leave you confused and re-reading.

More importantly, I’m concerned right off the bat that there will be plot gaps. If the description by itself doesn’t appear to be holding water, what kind of confidence should I have in the plot cohesion of an entire novel?

In fairness, it sounds like a lot of those gaps are well-filled in. Little Read Riding Hood even gives this book 5/5 stars, and it’s outside of normal genre. Some of my confusion is also cleared up by her review. I may or may not decide to give this book a shot; this may be something I pick up if I’m struck by the mood for a decent suspenseful romance (a mood that doesn’t come along terribly frequently).

What is your takeaway from the description? Are there good practices you see that I haven’t covered, or some of your own pet peeves? If you’ve read the book, does the description do it justice?

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Posted on August 25, 2014, in Description Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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