While I am usually very strict about only reading series in order, for some reason, I’ve skipped around in this one a lot. Maybe because different books are from different perspectives? Anyway, I picked this up after being away from this series for a while, so it took me a bit to figure out exactly where I was in each character’s storylines. Having already read sequels, I must say it was way too much fun meeting Jaime the necromancer for the first time. Her first impression is as ridiculous and wonderful as I wanted it.
This book is a fun mystery/thriller with supernatural aspects involved, and of course, it includes all of our favorite characters from the Otherworld series; I love that the werewolves make an appearance in this novel. (Since the series started with Elena, I have a feeling that she and Clay will always be my ultimate favorites.) But I really would recommend this book for thriller lovers, I kept referring to it as the “supernatural serial killer” novel I was reading, and it fits so perfectly. Basically, Paige and Lucas agree to help the Cabals (supernatural mafia-like groups) to help find the person who’s been killing teenagers of Cabal employees. It follows the typical thriller-style of stories where they think they have the whole thing solved, but it turns out that they were missing a couple pieces of the puzzle, which makes for an interesting, surprising read.
The serial killer stuff was great, but my favorite development for the series as a whole was getting to see Paige and Lucas’s relationship develop. They’re finally talking about the important things and finally start admitting that things are serious with each other, which creates for some fun situations and some hilarious conversations/jokes about how they’d run their own Cabal if they were really able to be in charge.
Overall, it’s a solid addition to the series, which I really do believe is a must-read for supernatural fans (the genre, not necessarily the show). I love that while we were introduced to a new character or two, for the most part, this novel just worked on developing the relationships between characters we already know. Genuinely enjoyed every minute of reading this.
A collection of five short stories that don’t really add much of importance to Bond canon. Still, I guess it’s nice to know where all those movie titles came from.
Quick impressions broken down by individual stories:
From a View to a Kill: 3* Just a fun little spy story without much substance.
For Your Eyes Only: 2* I liked the bit about the birds at the beginning. The rest was boring.
Quantum of Solace: 2* In which a casual remark by Bond results in him – and the reader – being subjected to a lengthy, somewhat dull cautionary tale regarding marrying air hostesses.
Risico: 2* Colombo is an interesting character, but the story itself is terribly boring and I skimmed most of it.
The Hildebrand Rarity: 3* “He rarely killed fish except to eat, but there were exceptions – big moray eels and all the members of the scorpion-fish family. Now he proposed to kill the sting-ray because it looked so extraordinarily evil.” F*** off, Bond. F*** all the way off. As if I didn’t dislike you enough already. Other than that, it was an engaging story, though there wasn’t much in the way of Bondness about it. It could have been just about any sexist, racist Englishman in the starring role.
I knew there was a chance that I would be disappointed when I decided to purchase Sawfish, given what I've read from the author in the past. However, I really like his ideas, and this sounded like the perfect sort of relaxing monster novel to listen to. It's been a while since I had one of those, so I decided to give Mr. Chesler another chance.
I wish I hadn't.
Sawfish has a great concept. It sets up perfectly to be this rip-roaring, monster-of-the-deep sort of novel. It had the potential to be so-bad-it's-good. Instead it was just bad. The sawfish was cool, don't get me wrong. The problem is that the author spends way too much time on the two main characters. Normally that wouldn't be a problem, except in this case both of the main characters are unlikable idiots!
For fans of The Walking Dead, Raymond is an evil Eugene. At least that's how I pictured him in my head. It didn't help that the narrator had that sort of nasal tone which built the ticked-off nerd image in your head. (The narrator was a perfect choice for this book, actually. I think it made it feel a bit more believable being told in that particular tone.) He wants revenge and then he wants to get back the attention he feels he rightly deserves. He's a toe rag.
But I will give Rick Chesler this: Even though Raymond is a douche, I still found myself rooting for him. When he's going up against the sawfish, I was hoping he'd win. He's not a likable character by any means, but you do find yourself cheering for him occasionally.
Elise is worse than Raymond is, and that's saying something. It's been a while since I disliked a female character as intensely as I disliked her. At least he had intelligence going for him, even if his personality and ego often overruled it. I spent too much of the book actively hoping something gruesome happened to her.
My favorite chapters were the sawfish attacks. The characters in them were often throwaways, but I didn't care. Those were the sections of the novel that I wanted to read more of. Anything so that I wouldn't have to listen to Raymond whine, boast, and plan.
Most of the ending was pretty good. The location and how things got rigged up was unique. The author did a great job of painting the scene in my mind. But the last few pages ruined it for me. My opinion already wasn't high on the book, and then we have something completely unbelievable happen from one of the characters. The twist wasn't believable. Not even a little bit.
Overall, it was a great concept and was voiced by a good narrator. I just didn't care for the actual execution or the characters. Can't recommend it.
By: Christina Kovac
Publisher: Atria / 37 INK
Publication Date: 3/21/2017
My Rating: 4 Stars
Christina Kovac delivers an intriguing suspense; highly-entertaining action debut, THE CUTAWAY —a brilliant and tenacious TV news and producer uncovers a video and sets out to discover the whereabouts of a missing female attorney while discovering something even more sinister.
From power, greed, dirty politics and corruption in Washington, this heroine will not stop until she has uncovered this dangerous web of deceit.
The author brings a wealth of her own experience managing Washington, DC newsrooms and producing crime and political stories as well as a TV journalist from the top networks to the pages as her story comes alive.
A beautiful woman, Evelyn Marie Carney an attorney; has gone missing in Georgetown. The Metropolitan Police Department is looking for this woman, last seen on Sunday.
TV news producer Virginia Knightly thinks she may have seen this young attorney somewhere. Most likely not in person; perhaps a cutaway shot, one of those quick flashes of video used to show a reaction. She was uncertain.
Evelyn was a recent law school graduated and worked at a prestigious firm. On the night she disappeared, she had dinner at a restaurant in Georgetown. She left alone. Police recovered her car abandoned not fifty yards from the restaurant.
Knightly has a memory, which is not exactly photographic; however, things, places, details, and events burn a permanent place in her memory, which is a gift at deadline. She can recall the angle of every frame, where it was shot, and what time of year, and the specifics. Armed with this kind of information can also be dangerous.
She loves telling stories, on or off camera. However, she may get more than she bargained for. Dark money.
Soon Knightly suspects foul play and begins her own investigation. Investigators seemed more interested in Evelyn’s martial problems. A martial separation was requested by Evelyn the night of the disappearance. What about her war-hero husband, Peter? Who was romantically involved with Evelyn?
What did Ian Chase’s official portrait from the Department of Justice have to do with the missing woman? Who was Evelyn looking at in the video? Was someone expected to turn a blind eye to illegal activities?
Virginia becomes enthralled and caught up in a high-stakes case, murder, greed deceit, dark money, power, and corruption. Hot on the trail, she soon realizes for every great story, there is a risk. Some far greater than others.
She discovers road blocks every way she turns, even in her own backyard, plus Michael Ledger, the detective which she had a relationship. Also PACs, political fundraising with anonymous donors (so-called dark money) to nonprofit groups, made in secret.
Money missing from the fund. Was Evelyn being set up? By whom?
Compelling! An edgy mystery with "behind the scenes" intensity in a contemporary suspenseful cutthroat news business. An intense tightly wound debut suspense. Looking forward to more from this author, who definitely knows her way around a story.
For fans of authors, Neely Tucker, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Lis Wiehl, and Jennifer Vaughn (some of my top favorites).
A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.
About the Author
Photograph by Tina Krohn
Christina Kovac worked for seventeen years managing Washington, DC newsrooms and producing crime and political stories in the District. Her career as television journalist began with Fox Five’s Ten O’Clock News, and after that, the ABC affiliate in Washington. For the last nine years, she worked at NBC News, where she worked for Tim Russert and provided news coverage for Meet the Press, the Today show, Nightly News, and others.
Christina Kovac lives with her family outside of Washington, DC. The Cutaway is her first novel. Read More