La Crimson Femme
Review: Crossover by Diane L. Kowalyshyn
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New to me author Ms. Kowalyshyn pens a story of love, betrayal, and murder. The main character, Karlee, knows she is different. She knows this because she recalls her parents arguing about her "special friend". Karlee names her imaginary friend, Shade. Together, Shade and Karlee have gone through good and bad times. Currently, she is going through some rough times, orphaned and looking for a job, Karlee is questioning what to do with her life.
Before I get to what I thought of the book, I'm a bit irritated at how Karlee loses a job... through her seizures. This should be covered under the ADA of 1990. Working in a book store or library for that matter should be able to easily accommodate people with seizures. This is one thing in the book that really stood out to me and pissed me off. Not that the author wrote it this way. That businesses would discriminate against Karlee because of it. Totally not cool. After learning this about Karlee, she becomes the underdog that I will support.
This story is a mish mash of romance, mystery and paranormal. I'm not quite sure how to explain it, but the three pieces did not exactly blend in so well together. At times, I felt as if the story was trying to decide which category it fits into ... love story or a mystery? Perhaps this is the first book for the author and she is working on her writing voice. I do see potential and look forward to seeing Ms. Kowalyshyn's writing voice mature.
The characters in this story are likeable. I like that Karlee's friends are of different ages and different personalities from her. Her love interest, Cole, is a typical male who seems to have finished sowing his oats once he meets Karlee. There is supposedly a large age gap between Karlee and Cole. I never felt it in this story. Perhaps it is because Karlee never came across as a young early 20s girl. Or perhaps I should say, she doesn't come across as the current generation's whiny drama prone "not waiting to adult" 20s female. This is refreshing because Karlee is never a victim, always a survivor. She may be inexperienced, but she owns her actions and moves on.
The mystery part of the story is a bit of a what the f-ery. I say this because this subplot to figure out the identity of Shade and what happened to her in real life is so tightly connected with so many "coincidences". It felt a little too pat for me even if I enjoyed how all the threads tied off at the end for a happy resolution.
I guess for me, this story would have been stronger without the romance element. Finding a love is unnecessary and tended to distract from the main focus I felt should have been Shade's life. I am not sure how the story would have been written, but at times, Cole's personal hang-ups intruded into Karlee's life and seemed irrelevant. Or perhaps I just didn't care for his woman drama.
This romantic mystery is recommended to readers who like ghosts and the underdog who wants her happily ever after.