The Cheater by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

October 22, 2010

Plot summary (from the publisher): Lily Forrester, a Ventura County judge, finds herself in a mix of bizarre circumstances that lead her onto the trail of a vicious criminal mind. Her husband calls her from a Las Vegas jail where he has been arrested for attempted rape—but Las Vegas wasn’t on his itinerary. His accuser, Anne Bradley, is an enigmatic woman with an eerie past, a woman to whom Lily is strangely drawn.

FBI Agent Mary Stevens is tracking a killer whose victims are husbands who cheat on their wives. Their mutilated bodies are disposed of in ghastly ways and strange locations.

The murderer’s trail leads to a web service that provides alibis for cheating spouses and into a thick web of deception that puts both Lily’s and Mary’s lives in jeopardy.

Liked:

  • I thought the alibi service itself seemed pretty neat (not that I condone cheating or anything; I just thought it was cool how the thing worked.) For instance, the guy could tell his wife that he’s going to Austin for some weight loss treatments, and she’d get an itinerary that says “HCG injections Austin — Thursday, 1pm-2pm”, along with a phone number for the clinic. If she called the number it would be answered by someone posing as an employee of the clinic, and the person would say the husband was currently busy or something. Interesting… and these alibi clubs actually exist, too.
  • Thank goodness the final confrontation wasn’t a long, drawn-out affair. Lily realized Anne was the serial killer, the FBI burst in a few minutes later, and Anne was taken care of. There was no long speech about “how” or “why” things had to happen, etc. That was definitely a refreshing way to wrap up this type of novel.

Disliked:

  • The writing just wasn’t very good. I got so bored with Lily staring off into space and remembering the past during every other scene she was in. Ugh, it just made me think of those cheesy dissolve cuts that old ’80s sitcoms used to use to let the viewer know the next part was a dream. So, so stupid — and they just kept happening!
  • Anne Bradley was more of a stereotype than an actual character. She was given the requisite abusive father, the hard childhood, the loveless, friendless adulthood, etc. etc. But the author’s calculations clearly showed through, so this felt more like a laundry list of “traits” that Rosenberg thought Anne should have than actual, organic background info.
  • I had no idea this book was part of a series. If I’d known, I would have started with the first installment. Then again, that probably would have made the flashbacks 1,000x more excruciating because I would have already known the story. Ugh.
  • One of the stupidest moments in the book came when Anne said to herself that the last thing she needed was the FBI sniffing around her business. UM, THEN MAYBE YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE CONTACTED THEM YOURSELF, IDIOT!!! Another example of sloppy writing.
  • There was way too much sex in the novel for my tastes. Yeah, I get that there had to be some of these kinds of scenes because that’s how Anne lured her victims. But was it necessary to go into details about all the other hookups? This was supposed to be about tracking down a serial killer, for god’s sake. And that stuff about Lily fantasizing about Anne… ridiculous and out of place.
  • The FBI agent Mary something-or-other got on my nerves the way she whined and cajoled “Uncle John” to get her way. Geez, way to show that women get ahead by being competent.
  • Anne just happened to be hanging around when Lily blasted that guy away all those years ago?? That was the event that convinced her to start killing scumbags? Uh, yeah, nice coincidence there.

Rating:

I tell ya, borrowing e-books from the library definitely has its disadvantages. Namely, I cannot thumb through the pages to get an idea of what the story is like before checking out the book. As a result, I’ve wasted my time on quite a few duds — The Cheater by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg being the latest among them. I give this book 1 star out of 5.

One Response to “The Cheater by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg”

  1. This is a message for Nancy Taylor Rosenberg. How are you doing? I read your exploits in a book sent me by P. Miller. Impressive. Please do you care to share a little insight about how you ended up in writing? I’m considering a career in writing(novel and screenplay). Cheers.

    K K

Leave a Reply