I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. It took me a while to finish it because I stopped reading before giving it another chance. I just couldn’t get into it at first, but I’m glad I did give it another shot. Overall, Collateral Damage is a good novel with a decent plot and interesting characters. However, as much as I wanted to give this book a higher rating, I just couldn’t because of a few nagging details.
First of all, the point of view threw me off at first. Collateral Damage is written in first person POV, but from the perspective of two different characters, Annie and her fiancee Salvatore. To the author’s credit, he clears this up by giving each chapter a title (i.e. Annie or Salvatore, depending on whose perspective it is). This my first time reading a novel with that type of style. Don’t get me wrong, it does work, and the author does a decent job, but as a reader it just confused me at first. I had to go back and re-read a few pages before noticing the change in chapter titles and realizing what the author was doing.
While I enjoyed the story overall, some parts it just had me rolling my eyes. I thought Annie Ogden made some unbelievably bad choices. I don’t want to spoil anything, but lets just say if an ex-lover of yours suddenly resurfaces and then does some really creepy things to you, why the hell would you just hop into his car and drive to Florida with him? This is after this creep did a couple of really cruddy things to you. Red flag, anyone? She makes a series of very poor choices with this guy, which is why, sadly, I just did not like Annie’s character. Annie is a private investigator and Army veteran, so I expected her to have a bit more common sense. There’s also a part of the story where she experiences a traumatic event and then the next day is helping a friend cater a charity event. Really? Just not very believable. That’s really my main complaint of the story.
There were also a few other minor issues in the writing, such as the occasional typo here and there, but I’m not a grammar cop, so I just read what the author meant. No biggie. However, and this is coming from someone who is a Corvette enthusiast, you would think that Chevrolet sponsored this novel by the amount of times “Corvette” or “Vette” was mentioned in the story. All it needed was the Chevy bow tie on the cover. I’m not exaggerating. I love Corvettes, but even I got a bit tired of seeing the brand. Just some friendly advice to the author . . . just say “car” after it’s been established that the vehicle the character is driving is a Corvette. Also, unless the car is repainted, we don’t need to know it’s black after the first couple of times.
If you can overlook some of the distracting issues I pointed out, I would recommend Collateral Damage, because it really was entertaining, flowed well, and easy to read.
About the Author
Frederick Lee Brooke launched the Annie Ogden Mystery Series in 2011 with Doing Max Vinyl and followed with Zombie Candy in 2012, a book that is neither about zombies nor sweets. The third mystery in the series, Collateral Damage, appeared in 2013. Saving Raine, the first book in Fred’s entirely new series, The Drone Wars, appeared in December 2013, and was followed by its sequel, Inferno, in June 2014.
A resident of Switzerland, Fred has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He has three boys and two cats and recently had to learn how to operate both washing machine and dryer. He makes frequent trips back to his native Chicago.
When not writing or doing the washing, Fred can be found walking along the banks of the Rhine River, sitting in a local cafe, or visiting all the local pubs in search of his lost umbrella.
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