This one failed my “Life’s Too Short” test fairly early.
The start is a little disturbing, but in all the wrong ways.
I know I should be being gripped by how the small, self-protective lies a woman tells escalate and place her in danger.
I should be feeling sorry for her and recognising that this kind of thing could happen to anyone. Or I should be shouting at her to wake up, deal with the confrontation and save herself.
I’m not doing either of these things because neither she nor the angry, drunk, narcissistic young man threatening her seem real to me. They come across purely as plot devices and the plot isn’t attractive. It’s shaping up to be another thriller where the “thrill” comes from watching a vulnerable woman being put at risk.
The speed of my decision is mainly down to the writing. When Bates describes places and situations the prose is leaden and as engaging as reading a police report. When Bates takes me inside the head of either the lying young woman or the drunk young man, I don’t get to live there, I just get a laboured explanation of what is driving their behaviour that reads more like notes to an actor who will play the characters.
So, I have an unattractive plot, delivered with limping prose and dialogue from characters I don’t believe in. Life’s too short.