Beast of Stratton by Renee Blare


There is a lot in this story to like. At times the story whooshes along so fact you barely hear the railroad crossing warning before the train has passed. However, other times it moves really slow, but the prose is staccato like high heels clacking along a cement platform.

Character development is nicely done. You meet a young woman who has a mission to find out where her father is. You have to figure out that she's going undercover to the job where he was last seen. She's and architect, but is pretending to be a secretary (she was one a long time ago, so it's okay, she knows what to do). We get a good feel for Aimee, we know she's a firecracker, and that she's good at what she does. We also know that she loves her father AND she loves him for good reasons: He's faithful, true, honest, etc. so the characters are very believable.

I like the way we meet the Beast of Stratton; in your face and sort of growling. It's a long time into the story before you figure out what his problem is, and why he's so grumpy.There is one character, I think it's one character who is usually called Ian, but something Sebastian. That part was very confusing, so I'll tell you that he's the head of security and he really is a good guy.

About style...
Blare makes a lot of points in the narrative without a lot of care that the reader truly understands what is going on. I get this kind of writing because I wrote this way a long time ago. It's to be efficient with words so that the words carry a lot of impact. However, the word economy here is very distracting to the storyline. The reader has to waste time trying to figure out exactly what is going on, and sometimes who is doing the action. That dams up the story flow, and can actually keep the reader from enjoying the suspense. This is the fault of the editor mostly, not the author. Authors tend to get caught up in story telling and frequently we leave out words and sentences because our brains are working faster than we can type. The editor on the other hand must make sure the story flows fluidly so the reader can shoot the rapids as well as savor the deep, quiet waters. That is what makes a good story a great novel.

Dialogue needs some work as well. Sometimes it's hard to tell who is talking to whom. Although, what the characters say to each other is believable.

For the ending to have the kind of huge impact that I know the author is going for, more time should have been spent on the mother. It's great what happens in the end, but frankly I didn't get to know the mother so I really didn't care if she was forgiven or not. Maybe you will feel differently about it. Maybe I'm just getting old and I don't like the sound of high heels walking across a concrete platform. I like the sound of steady rain on the roof, and splashes of puddles, and white water rivers because it's all going somewhere with a purpose that is clearly discerned.

 I liked the book. It is interesting and a very good premise, so I give it 3 stars out of 5.


 He appears the beast, but she sees the man...

Architect Aimee Hart, determined to locate her father, infiltrates Miles Stratton’s engineering firm as a secretary. Her presence wrenches the shaggy, wounded man from his penthouse, and the quest begins.

Betrayed by his best friend, Miles would rather hide than help, especially from the man's daughter. But something's not right. Someone’s trying to destroy Stratton Industrial. A decorated war veteran, he's defended his own before and the Beast of Stratton can do it again.

Even with the enemy at his side.

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