REVIEWER: LILIANE AZERAD-GOLDMAN
If the intention of author Sheryl Jane Stafford’s book, A Deadly Exchange, was to take the reader into pure escape, she has partially succeeded.
After a somewhat slow start, the book picks up to the point where you can’t put it down. The plot involving two innocent bystanders caught in a drug cartel web moves swiftly and deadly. The suspense is built on increments leading to a fairy tale “denouement”.
Stafford’s emphasis is on plot rather than character. In fact, I found that the characters’ inner thoughts, written in italics, somewhat slows down the pace of the book. Moreover, some of the dialogue was trite and at times boring, and should have been trimmed. Here is where a good editor is invaluable.
Notwithstanding the weakness in character development, the author’s scenes of torture and death mirror a good horror movie. In fact, A Deadly Exchange reads like a movie. Perhaps, we will see it one day on the silver screen.
Has Stafford succeeded in taking the reader into pure escape? Escape from life? Well, some of the killings and horrors are just too true to life, reminding you of your nightly television news broadcast.
On the other hand, escaping into scenes of sailing, high seas and idyllic scenery sure makes for a delightful dream.
The book definitely is exciting and a good read, however, it probably would have been more effective if the characters were better developed.