Sunday, May 20, 2018

Beyond the Pale: A World of Spies Mystery

Welcome!  Best Beach Ever by Wendy Wax comes out on May 22.  It is the sixth (and I believe the final) book in Ten Beach Road Novel series. Beaches, Bungalows and Burglaries by Tonya Kappes publishes on May 25.  It is the first book in A Camper and Criminals Cozy Mystery series.

Beyond the Pale by Clare O’Donohue is the first book in A World of Spies Mystery series.  Hollis and Finn Larsson are professors at a local college who have been married for fifteen years.  Hollis feels that Finn does not appreciate her and that their marriage is lacking (stale, dull, predictable).  She has been trying to convince him to travel this summer without success (liven things up).  Hollis is surprised when she hears from David Agnelli whom she trained at the Farm with many years ago.  He needs her help in convincing Finn to do a job.  They need Finn and his reputation (credentials) to obtain a rare manuscript in Ireland that could help save an agent.  The job should last under twenty minutes and then they can enjoy a vacation in Ireland.  The job, though, fails to go as expected.  They show up at Byrnes Antiques, but their contact does not.  Finn and Hollis have fifty thousand euros (courtesy of David) and a trail of mysterious people following them.  They are not the only ones trying to obtain the manuscript.  There are other dubious people after it, and they will do whatever it takes to get it.  Hollis and Finn need to find the manuscript and the missing agent while staying ahead of their adversaries.  Will they make it home alive? 

Beyond the Pale sounded like a great fast-paced mystery/suspense novel, and I enjoyed Claire O’Donohue’s A Someday Quilts Mystery series.  After I finished Beyond the Pale, I wondered if it was the same author.  The best part of the book is the beautiful descriptions of Ireland (the scenery, Trinity College, Book of Kells) and the Irish history.  The one thing I kept wondering throughout the whole book was why had Hollis married Finn and why did she stay married to him.  Finn is more interested in baseball and his adoring fans than Hollis.  The pair seem to have nothing in common.  I never felt any passion or emotion between them.  I never got into Beyond the Pale.  The book starts off with Hollis whining about her marriage (not a good start).  She wanted them to travel during the summer and he had already agreed to teach.  I thought Hollis should plan her trip and go.  I have a feeling Finn would never have noticed she left.  Hollis’ backstory seemed slightly farfetched (unbelievable).  She finished college and trains for the CIA.  She is top of her class, but she gives it up for the love of her life (is anyone buying this) and teaches at a small-town college.  I can understand Finn being at a small-town college.  It makes him a big fish in a small pond (he likes attention, accolades, and admirers).  You knew the mission to Ireland would go sideways, but there seemed to be a bad guy everywhere they turned (who knew them, their names and what they were after).  I found the pacing in Beyond the Pale to be slow which made the book seem so very long (360 pages).  There were some good elements in the story, but it failed to come together.  Identifying the bad guy was child’s play.  I kept thinking the author would throw a twist in at the end because the solution could not be that simple.  Unfortunately, there was not surprise ending.  I am giving Beyond the Pale 2 out of 5 stars.  While Beyond the Pale was not for me, I suggest obtaining a sample to see if the story appeals to you.

I do recommend this authors A Someday Quilts Mystery series (you should check them out).  I am reviewing Berried at Sea by Peg Cochran on Monday.  It is the fourth A Cranberry Cove Mystery.  May you have a tranquil day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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