The Travel Writer: A Mystery by Jeff Soloway
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.
"At a posh South American resort tucked into the lush jungles of the Andes, an American journalist has gone missing, leaving the hotel’s PR agent, Pilar Rojas, with an international incident on her hands. Which is why she offers her ex-lover, travel writer Jacob Smalls, an all-expenses-paid trip to the resort in exchange for a puff piece extolling its virtues—and some behind-the-scenes digging into the disappearance. Intrigued by the prospect of winning Pilar back—and eager, as always, for freebies—Jacob hops the first flight to La Paz, Bolivia.
Although he hasn’t seen Pilar in years, Jacob finds her just as intoxicating as he did when they were together. But from the moment he hits the city’s cobbled streets, Jacob attracts all the wrong kinds of attention. Political flunkies and goons of all stripes try to scare him off the trail, while the missing woman’s not-quite boyfriend insists on shadowing Jacob’s every move. And amid ancient Incan hillside terraces, a world-class hotel conceals a secret that may kill."
This book was so bland and dull. I really did try to enjoy it because the premise was interesting and I hate rating books from NetGalley low like this, but really this was mediocre at best. Jacob himself is a constant dreamer, but it was bordering on the laughably ridiculous. I knew what was going to happen as soon as the criminal person appeared, and I knew exactly what had happened to Hilary as well. It was literally going through pages and pages of bland writing with an over-abundance of laughable daydreams in order to find out what I already knew...
The writing in this, to start with, was very very formulaic and almost written like an essay. It felt like I was reading someone's dissertation. There was no rich descriptive language, everything was very black and white. I guess the best way to describe the writing was "flat". However, the scenery was described well and I grew to really like the country it was based in. Despite feeling the suffocation as Soloway kept honing in on the lack of oxygen on the mountain. If you can overlook this, though, then it's at least written well grammatically speaking.
The characters were also 2 dimensional. One was downright ridiculous and one was the stereotypical stoic loner. Then we have the baddies who are so obvious it hurts to read, and some of the big "mob" bosses who are literally taken from "How to Stereotype, 101". I didn't care what happened to any of them so really couldn't see the point in reaching the obvious end. I persevered, however, because I wanted to rate it properly on NetGalley.
Plot wise, very very slow paced and so transparent that I guessed what had happened within the first 50 pages. So. Predictable and slow with very little happening in between that.
Overall I really didn't enjoy this book, but I gave it 3 stars because it was at least readable, even if only mediocre. 3/5 stars.
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