The Strange Files of Fremont Jones by Dianne Day
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The first lesson any author should learn is what genre of book he/she is writing. Dianne Day didn't quiiiiite have that figured out. The Strange Files of Fremont Jones starts off as a coming-of-age story of a young woman in 1905 then morphs into a potential mystery before taking on supernatural elements of weird Poe-esque formatting until settling in for a single sex scene that could have come out of any trashy dime-store romance novel. Not cool and I'd like to hope, not her best effort!
Because despite all the culminating weirdness, the character of Caroline Fremont Jones is likeable and intrigued me from the very beginning. The other major problem aside from the hodgepodge of genres is the predictable nature of the actual "mystery" in the book. I knew, or at least suspected, who was involved from almost the very moment I met him. Why? Because I didn't like him much, knew I was supposed to, so my feelings of dislike must stem from the direction I myself would take such a character, i.e. making him a villain. Needless to say, Fremont doesn't always have the best judgement!
And that's another thing. This girl is stupid! For being such a fan of Sherlock Holmes (my fangirl's heart LOVES that part of her character), she really doesn't make safe or rational judgement calls. What young, respectable woman in 1905 charges off into San Francisco's Chinatown without an escort? I realize she wants to be independent, but really?
So, I couldn't put the book down and it had fascinating elements, but I hope Dianne's next books in the Fremont Jones series have a more cohesive plot. I don't want my supernatural mysteries to mesh with reality. If she wants to give her readers the chills, then by all means stick to a Poe format, but don't bounce between ghost stories and real mysteries.
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