MIS_ING – Drake Braxton (Seventh Window Publications)

Buy it direct from Seventh Window Publications

I have said before that some of the best books I’ve read
lead you down one path then change direction and turn into something else.
There is, however, a caveat in that such a switch must be foreshadowed,
however subtly. If not, the reader feels misled. If I can go back, reread and
be able to smack my forehead and say, “How come I didn’t see that coming?” I’ll
be satisfied. That’s one of the problems with Drake Braxton’s MIS_ING.

Blain Harrington takes his partner Manny back to Alabama to
attend Blain’s 20th high school reunion. But when Manny turns up
missing, Blain panics, suspecting one of his old friends has murdered his
partner. Will the police find him? The private detective his best friend Michael
hires? Is he dead? Hurt? Or just took the opportunity to get out of the
relationship?

I thought long and hard about how to write this review
because I always hate to reveal too much in case someone wants to read the
book. However, in this case there is no choice but to include a spoiler.
Manny’s disappearance, you see, is all in Blain’s head. Manny is dead, no
mistake, but due to a car accident that may or may not have been Blain’s fault.
But this is thrown at us with absolutely no preparation or foreshadowing.

That might be survivable, giving us a picture of a man so
tortured by grief that he invents various fantasy scenarios to avoid the
reality. In fact, despite the lack of foreshadowing, that could have worked if
the remainder of the book was about conquering that aspect of his grief and
returning to normality. Unfortunately, Braxton drops this interesting trait
immediately after introducing it.

What replaces this fascinating, if slightly flawed, story? A
tepid romantic storyline that threatens to sink into a disappointingly
hackneyed addiction/recovery plot before it recovers its footing and crosses
the finish line with a flat, though happy, ending. And the more I thought about
the potential here—the originality of the first third gone wrong—the more I
wept. I was really rooting for Braxton to pull this one out of the fire, but it
simply didn’t happen.

Part of the problem is mine. I don’t care for the romance
genre, so perhaps a fan would find the last half of this book more intriguing
than I did. If you’re into that sort of thing, I’d encourage you to pick this
up and decide for yourself.  

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©, 2012, Jerry Wheeler

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