Tandem by Tracey Bateman
Stand-alone sequel to Thirsty
All is not right in Abbey Hill, MO (did that sound properly cliché?). Six months after an enigmatic killing-spree stopped by the alleged death of the killer (death by house burning down atop of you), Lauryn McBride is selling the estate of a Marcus Chisom who was unfortunately killed in the fire six months prior. While cataloguing the belongings of the estate, Lauryn finds a bundle of old letters. Luckily she is able to locate the family to whom the letters were postmarked from and she mails them to the family member in New Orleans, an Amede Dastillon. Amede thinks these letters can serve as a key to finding her missing sister, so she travels up to Abbey Hill to gather more information from Lauryn. One dark and twisty event after another leaves Amede and Lauryn scrambling for answers faster than they will come in. Only the turning of the page can tell if these two women will find the answers they are looking for before it is too late.
So, I rather liked Tandem for the first 3/4 of the book. It was intriguing, the writing style was well done, and the plot line was not cliché. The story was mysterious enough to be entertaining, but not so mysterious to be annoying. The characters were developed nicely, even if there were quite a few of them.
What I really liked about Lauryn is the fact that Bateman was able to show us a real girl struggling with a father who had Alzheimer’s. This was an important part of the plot development, and I appreciated that Bateman was able to express clearly the emotions Lauryn was feeling
I was disappointed when I discovered there was a slight love interest in the story between Lauryn and an old crush. It was definitely not a romance book, and the romance was definitely not the focus of the story. Regardless, I chose this book for the express reason that I wanted a break from romance novels, so even the slight mini-plot of romance was too much for me. Granted, there was nothing wrong with the love interest. I personally could have done without it is all.
My main problem with the story came toward the end when Lauryn's life became beyond hectic. It seemed a bit unrealistic for so many things to happen to her so fast, and I couldn't quite see the point of all the events happening (yes, that is vague, but I do not wish to give any spoilers). It also seemed like too much was happening in the story. There was the minor love interest, the dad with Alzheimer’s, Amede trying to find her sister, Amede's personal struggles, animal carcasses showing up on the road, and other dark and twisty occurrences.
I felt a bit bogged down, but since the plot was an intriguing one, I was able to overlook these minor shortcomings. I could handle a sensory overload as long as the story itself was good, which it was.
Weirdest thing was that I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers, so I was expecting some sort of thriller or paranormal book with a Christian theme (because they're Christian publishers). Instead this was a good novel that happened to have Christian characters in it. It didn't bother me, though. It was simply weird, like taking a sip of Coke thinking you're drinking Pepsi. While they're both good drinks, it's always surprising to get something other than what you're expecting.
To wrap it all up, because this review is all over the place, I liked the book. I would recommend it to others to read.