Review: Virtue Falls

Virtue Falls
Virtue Falls by Christina Dodd

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When a massive earthquake and tsunami devastate the small town of Virtue Falls, the bones of the long missing Misty Banner are finally discovered and set in motion a series of events that will have profound consequences for her friends and family: Her husband, Charles, convicted of her murder and suffering from Alzheimer’s; her daughter, Elizabeth, a brilliant geologist who has blocked out the memories of her mother’s brutal death, Elizabeth’s ex-husband, Garik, a former FBI-agrent whose demons haunt him, and a malicious killer who has continued his savage “work” undetected … until now …

Although the story contains some of my favorite tropes, i.e., a small town with quirky residents, a serial killer on the loose and a sexy FBI agent, none of these do much to compensate for the plodding pacing, lack of any real tension and suspense and lackluster romance.

The mystery surrounding Misty’s death has potential, but never really gets going as the suspects and their motives are underdeveloped. The ultimate revelation of the killer seems to be more of an afterthought, and the climax and resolution are anti-climactic as there is no heart-stopping fear or heart-pounding action to get the reader’s adrenaline going.

Garik and Elizabeth’s second chances romance falls flat as their chemistry is virtually non-existent, and the fact that two emotionally closed off people would suddenly open up and bare all is not believable. The romance is the most disappointing aspect as Dodd is quite skilled at writing intimate and sensual sex scenes, which are conspicuously missing from this book.

There are also several supernatural elements that add nothing to the storyline, and actually detract from it as they are jolting and incongruent with the tone of the book.

All in all, not one of Dodd’s better books although the small town vibe and secondary characters do make it a worthwhile read.

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