Review of Conduit, by Angie Martin

ConduitAuthor, Angie Martin sent me an e-copy of her novel, Conduit. I’ve also seen it on the Amazon free list.

Description from Goodreads:
How do you hide from a killer when he’s in your mind?

Emily Monroe conceals her psychic gift from the world, but her abilities are much too strong to keep hidden from an equally gifted killer. A savvy private investigator, she discreetly uses her psychic prowess to solve cases. When the police ask her to assist on a new case, she learns the killer they seek is not only psychic, but is targeting her.

The killer wants more than to invade her mind; he wants her. Believing they are destined for each other, he uses his victims as conduits to communicate with her, and she hears their screams while they are tortured. She opens her minds to help the victims, but it gives him a portal that he uses to lure her to him. With the killer taking over her mind, she must somehow stop him before she becomes his next victim.

I have to admit that this book just didn’t work for me. It might for some readers, to each their own.

I have been trying to come up with the right word to describe this (and writing like it), because I encounter it a lot. Maybe someone knows and can help me out. We all recognize a Mary Sue and Gary Stu (sometime Marty Stu), but what do you call it when the whole book–plot, narrations, characters, etc all have a Mary Sue feel to them. Pat, maybe?

I actually have a litmus test for this, even if I don’t have a title for it. My test is hugging. But what could hugging have to do with anything, you might ask? Well, it has been my experience, in reading several hundred books a year for several years that when you encounter a book in which there is lots and lots of hugging the author is using this small action as a weak demonstration that the MC is an open, good person, makes meaningful connections with people, etc. Similarly, it shows how comfortable those people are with him/her (usually her). Now, I’m a bit of a hugger in real life, coming from the touchy-feely hippy family that I did. But I don’t hug my BFF, my ex-boyfriend, my friend’s uncle, his cop partner and the nurse who cares for my mother in the nursing home. More importantly, all those people don’t come up and hug me.

But it’s not just about hugging. The hugging is almost always accompanied by a certain innocent narrative tone, in which small things (like a hug) are made big deals of. It’s like a pearl-clad, mary jane wearing, pastel sporting teenager swooning over their first kiss while the married 40-year-old, with the kinky nightlife that’s forced to listen to it thinks, ‘God, it really just isn’t that big a thing.’ Any romance in these sorts of books are always heavily descriptive, possibly purple, and almost all tell as the narration beats the reader over the head with how awe-inspiring one person or the other is, how meaningful the small unimpressive events are, and how in looooooove they are.

The fact that this book falls within this pat(?) grouping is a guarantee that I’m not likely to enjoy it, as I almost never enjoy these books. But this book also annoyed me in other respects. I hated that as soon as Emily got together with Jake she let him start making all her decision. I didn’t like their insta-love and, even worse, their insta-relationship, which was only compounded by their insistence on waiting to have sex until their relationship was more established. I don’t know, ‘I’m ready to let you rule my life’ and ‘I’m ready to die for you’ seems pretty established to me.

I didn’t like that the author gave Emily a rich, high-power, nice guy ex, who was still madly in love with her, just to show she was a desirable commodity. I didn’t like that Emily had all this important information that she never shared with anyone. I didn’t like that she pulled the cliché, TSTL, ‘I’ll go off and save the day by myself and require rescue’ shtick a bagazillion other TSTL heroines have pulled. I didn’t like that the villain was the same old, seen it a 100 times, man obsessed with a woman he wants to own for no discernible reason. I didn’t like that people made un-followable intuitive leaps of logic that lead them to plot points. And I didn’t like the deus ex machina-like way the characters were easily able to learn just what they needed at just the right time to save the day. Too easy!

The one thing that saved this book for me was Leo and his wife. I adored their relationship. It really is a stand alone book. The editing seemed pretty clean, I don’t remember many cock-ups and to the right reader this might be a hit.

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