There’s Always Love by Joycie Russ

There’s Always Love by Joycie Russ
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (135 Pages)
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Jade, a young homicide detective has strange dreams that lead her into reopening a cold case. As she searches for answers, she discovers old family secrets and a world she never knew existed.

This story caught my interest on the first page and I liked Jade Simmons as a young homicide detective working to make her mark in her chosen field. She discovers that her recurring dream is related to a cold case and she decides to investigate the unsolved crime.

However, midway through the first chapter Jade gets sidetracked as she falls in love with Jasper, a fellow policeman. The mystery falls by the wayside, and Jade becomes weaker and less focused. This change proves to be a less than ideal role model for either women or marriage in today’s world. The mystery does eventually get solved, but more as a sideline than as the main point of the novel.

The novel lacks depth and reads more like a detailed outline of a book. The characters are flat and two dimensional, and the dialogue is obvious. Jade and Jasper repeatedly say “I love you,” followed by “and I love you back.” This is said so often, on most pages and sometimes even twice on one page, that it really became annoying. There are no bedroom scenes, but there are many references to the fact that Jade and Jasper spend much of their time in bed, and even those references, using terms such as fireworks repeatedly, become very stereotypical.

The focus of this novel needs to be clarified. If the author is writing a mystery, then the mystery–which in fact is a very good mystery–needs to be developed more fully and should become the primary focus of the novel. If the author prefers to have this as a romance, then that also needs to be developed more fully. Currently the novel is floating between genres, neither mystery nor romance.

The events in this rather short novel take place over more than a year, and this too is an indication of the lack of depth. There are many threads in the plot which beg for expansion. In fact, the material in this work could easily be the source for an entire series. Short chapters which lack details are followed by further chapters beginning with phrases such as “Three weeks passed,” or “Over the next two months.”

There’s Always Love has a great deal of potential. The mystery itself has a lot of exciting possibilities, and if it was fully developed, with fewer, more complex characters, then this could become an excellent novel.

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