Evil Genius by Patricia Rice

Posted July 17, 2011 by Meoskop in Book Reviews, Romance, Suspense / 0 Comments

Above title - a hand adjusts cufflinks. Below title - a woman's eye is shown with her dark bangs drawn across the otherI don’t like this cover. I don’t like it a lot. To me it sort of says late 80’s sexcapade, something by Jackie Collins or Harold Robbins.

The top is fine, and if the bottom of the book was a solid color it might work, but the girl throws it right in the hopper for me. Someone stop her before she plucks again – that eyebrow is barely hanging on. I’m thinking the brow issue might explain why she’s holding a hank of hair in front of her face. Try and get your hair to sit like that without assisting it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I mean, if it’s long enough. Right, it doesn’t. That’s got to tickle the nose and fatigue the elbow. But whatever, it’s the contents that count.

I wanted to love Evil Genius but it made me like it.  My quibbles were stylistic and quibbley. (Is quibbley a word? It totally should be. I’m inventing it right now if it isn’t.) Evil Genius is mostly in the first person. Every so often we take a quick trip to the third person to see what’s motivating our heroine’s sister, the Evil Genius in question. That would be fine if we needed to know what EG is up to, but we largely don’t. If the reader had the same lack of knowledge about EG’s actions as the heroine does the story wouldn’t suffer. Because of that the effect is like a commercial interruption in the middle of your favorite show. It doesn’t matter if the commercial is entertaining, it’s not the main event.

My other quibbley point involves Ana herself. She’s two girls in one. Ana is a mild introvert with a bit of a complex about her parents, and Ana is also Angelina Jolie on an endorphin high. It doesn’t really work for me that this kick ass confident chick is also this insecure hermit. Yes, she shows her kick ass bona fides off early in the book so they are not a complete surprise, but they still don’t sit comfortably on her shoulders. The conceit is that their mother, Magda, has raised all of them to be unique and powerful individuals through a system of benign neglect. I could never really buy into it.

All of those quibbly quibbles being set aside, Evil Genius was a very enjoyable read. There are some great moments in Evil Genius (same kind of car as your daddy, bitch) and some red herrings (Sean) coupled with a nice mix of high and low stakes mysteries. A little more resolution for The Man In The Attic would have made the book an even stronger read. (He’s the Charlie to her Angel). I actually did find I liked Evil Genius enough to hope for a sequel. The short synopsis might go something like:

Ana, a kick ass heroine who dreams of being a quiet mouse, finds her cover of domesticity blown when her young sister arrives at the door. When EG is followed by another of their many siblings Ana realizes it’s time to reclaim her ancestral home. Unfortunately, it’s already been claimed by a mysterious man with little interest in her family problems. Ana must solve the murder of a Senator’s aide, uncover a money laundering cartel and still get her sister to school on time. Can she do it all and still get dinner? Only with the help of her friends. 

Or something. I dunno. I don’t write book blurbs. I just say cranky or fawning things about books. It’s so hard when a book is just sitting there being a good read. What do you do with a good read? I guess you just buy it and move on.