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INVISIBLE, by Lorena McCourtney, is filled with humor. I loved the premise that as we grow older, we become invisible. Have you ever felt that way?
If you remember THE PRINCESS DIARIES, you know the distinction of being invisible is not limited to older people, but to anyone who doesn’t “measure up” on the yardstick of the shallow and superficial. Yes, that definitely includes me (the puny, nerdy, bookworm with too many extra pounds, and the athletic ability of a large rock), so I was quite taken with INVISIBLE's premise and with Ivy Malone, the book's protagonist.
Ivy considers herself a LOL, which for her stands not for “laughing out loud,” but for “little old lady.” Because Ivy believes people no longer pay attention to her--and she has several experiences to reinforce that opinion--she decides invisibility could become an asset to investigate tombstone destruction at the local cemetery.
Her decision to hide behind a marker shaped like a VW bug costs her a lot of sleep because she spends several nights there in a row, armed only with a thermos, flashlight, and occasional snacks. All she reaps is a bad fall and being spotted by the men she hoped to ID. She did get a look at one man's face, and would not forget him or the unusually squeaky voice of the other man. The vandals didn’t identify her, but she later gives herself away. You have to read the book to learn how and the result, no spoilers included here!
For reasons I can't divulge--also without ruining part of the plot, Ivy takes over dealing with her neighbor's basement tenant, a very nice and attractive young woman with an air of mystery about her. When the woman disappears without packing, Ivy fears the worst. She enlists the help of a nice young detective.
Yikes! This is where Ms. McCourtney almost lost me! She spends so much time evangelizing with/to/about the detective, that she completely detracts from the mystery's pace and storyline. In fact, INVISIBLE is actually two stories: one is a very good cozy mystery, the other is a strong evangelical witness--perhaps suitable for a devotional--but which has absolutely nothing to do with the mystery. It's as if they were written separately and then shoved together.
In my opinion, Ms McCourtney should have separated the two. As Logan Pearsoll Smith said, “I love a writer not so much for what he says, as for what he whispers.”
Although not a large percentage of my reading, Christian fiction is one of my eclectic genre interests. Christian author Marta Perry is my favorite in that genre, but her message is woven gently into her books rather than her beating the reader over the head. That's also true of Suzanne Woods.
I strongly feel Ms McCourtney’s testimony would have been much more effective if it were subtle enough to make it palatable to all readers. Surely influencing people who are without faith would be more important to a Christian author than preaching to the choir. As written, it turns off those it might otherwise impact as well as some of the intended Christian audience (me). However, that’s only my opinion, and certainly Ms McCourtney’s success and awards imply others disagree.
Lorena McCourtney pulls all the mystery’s threads together nicely at the end with a tiny dangling lead for another book. Sure enough, this is the first of a series, so Ivy Malone is already busily involved in other adventures. If you like Christian fiction, INVISIBLE will interest you. If you like cozy mysteries, this may interest you. It is a clever premise and a cute mystery with an attractive cover. Although I've never met her, from her website and interviews, Ms McCourtney sounds like a nice person. I always enjoy reading a book more if I think the author is nice, don't you?
I give the cozy mystery a Five but will refrain from rating the evangelistic portion I so disliked. As of this writing, the book is FREE for Kindle at Amazon, so what do you have to lose? You can't beat the price.
About the author of INVISIBLE, Lorena McCourtney, condensed from her website at www.lorenamccourtney.com/:
|Author Lorena McCourtney|
I started writing in the fifth grade. All my stories were about horses. This love of horses carried me through a degree in agriculture from Washington State University. My first job out of college, however, was with a big meat-packing company in the Midwest, where I quickly discovered that writing about hogs and sausage making was not my life’s calling.
Marriage and motherhood intervened, and by the time I got back to writing, I knew fiction was what I wanted to write. I started out doing short stories for children and teenagers. Finally, After 24 published romance novels, it was time to become a Christian author and write exclusively Christian fiction. The first 6 of these books were with the Palisades line of Christian romance, but with my 7th book of Christian fiction, WHIRLPOOL, I turned to a stronger emphasis on mystery.
Thanks for reading my blog. Keep reading books--especially mine!
My latest release, in e-book only, is available from The Wild Rose Press, at http://tinyurl.com/2cho67v and other online stores. This book recently received a 5 Heart review from Sizzling Hot Book Reviews!
My backlist is available on Smashwords and Kindle, and my current releases are available from The Wild Rose Press as well as Amazon and other online stores. Many thanks to those who have already purchased them!