Sunday, September 16, 2012

Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson

book cover
Full Disclosure
by Dee Henderson

ISBN-13: 9780764210907
Trade Paperback: 374 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: October 2, 2012

Source: Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher and won through a Facebook contest.

Book Description, my take:
When Ann Silver drops information vital to tracking down a hired murderer onto Paul Falcon's desk in the FBI building, she leads him to believe she's a nobody sheriff of a small town instead of the well-known and loved Midwest Homicide Investigator. The information that she provided heats up an old, cold case, but Ann goes back home leaving Paul to ask around about who she is.

Despite learning she's an intensely private person and introvert who is content as a single, Paul Falcon decides she's a woman of mystery that he'd like to get to know and he wants to fix her deep hurts. And marriage to him with his huge, loving extended family would be just the thing!

Despite having little opportunity to spend meaningful time with her, his protective instincts kick in when he realizes she was involved in a cover-up of a high-profile crime and she'll be forced to endure public scrutiny when the case is exposed to the public. But the trick is getting Ann to trust him enough to share her many secrets and to want to share her life with him.

My Review:
First, I've read all of Dee Henderson's novels, and I'm happy she's feeling well enough to write again. I received an Advanced Reader Copy of her newest novel.

Full Disclosure is a Christian novel. Dee Henderson usually writes romantic suspense, but this wasn't really a suspense-genre novel. Both of the cases that Paul worked on were cold cases where no one was currently in any physical danger. There were spikes of suspense when an information leak could ruin the first investigation and when Ann suggests that the second case might ruin their potential relationship, but Paul doesn't seem overly concerned. The first case also had so many long interruptions that any suspense disappeared for me. The cases were interesting, but there wasn't a high level of sustained suspense involved.

It's also not a romance-genre novel. Almost the entire story was from Paul's point-of-view, and only a couple of Ann's few point-of-view scenes involved interacting with Paul. We get a few scenes of Ann thinking over whether she wants anything besides friendship with Paul--since she knows he wants marriage with her--and she decides she honestly doesn't. So I found it confusing when Ann would then allow Paul to hug and kiss her since that would be leading him on.

Paul was an interesting character and worthy hero, but I just didn't understand his attraction to Ann. The focus was on all their differences, how to overcome them, and all the sacrifice that would be involved (like she didn't want children and he did, so he gave up his dream of having children). Since the two never worked directly together as a team or spent time engaged together in meaningful activity, I never had a chance to say, "Ah, they are good together! They bring out the best in the other!" The interactions were mainly question-based "are we compatible?" rather than immersing us in the emotions of growing to love everything about the other person that is typical of romance novels.

We got to know a lot about Ann, but I never felt like I got to know her. I didn't understand why she went from happy with her life to deciding to risk facing her many fears about marriage (and why did she have these fears?) to enter a marriage where she had to sacrifice so much and gained little additional benefit. (Paul wasn't going to abandon her if she said no.)

And Ann was almost too perfect--everyone loved her, everyone thought her writing was perfect, she's a perfect airplane pilot, she has an extremely close relationship with God, and she can easily get any murder case unstuck. Yet she's such an introvert that she must have 4 hours a day completely to herself, and she's unwilling to let people know basic information like she's the MHI even if it creates a hassle for them. We never learn what causes these extremes in her life or how they combine to make a realistic whole.

In the story, Ann is the one who wrote the Dee Henderson novels. She explains that she used the true romances of her close friends but with a fictional suspense case. And this novel is her love story. Trying to figure out what was real and what wasn't was very distracting to me. And, unfortunately, since Ann is just so super-expert on so very many things, it came across as the author praising herself.

However, the cases were interesting and involved unexpected twists. The details about the jobs were vivid and interesting. I liked how Paul felt so comfortable talking with God about things. There was a strong Christian element to the story since Paul and Ann discuss their relationship with Christ with each other, and both talk with God about their relationship.

There was no sex or explicit bad language. Overall, as the ARC was written, I came away with rather mixed feelings and no desire to re-read the book as I have Dee's other novels. Hopefully some of this will be fixed in the final version.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


JuneA** said...

It doesn't sound like the Dee Henderson in the past! I'll give it a try, though, when it comes out. I love her other books!

Genre Reviewer said...

Yes. I could see enough similarities that I knew it was a Dee Henderson novel, but the story didn't read like her past novels. After such a long break from writing, maybe it'll take a book or two before she recaptures what I found so engaging in her first novels.

Anne Payne said...

Debbie, I appreciate your honest and forthright reviews, and not just gushing over a favored author no matter what they write. I wondered the same thing after reading your review though...about it being a Dee book. Doesn't sound like her usual fare. The publisher and bloggers have really built up expectations in the advertising campaign. I'll give it a try and hope I am not disappointed.


Genre Reviewer said...

I'm glad that there are people like you that find my "honest and forthright reviews" useful. On Amazon, I've had comments on some of my reviews that are quite angry that I dare to say anything not gushing about their favorite author. I'm not trying to dis authors--I know that writing good fiction is harder than it looks

My intent is to try to help people know what type of book they're getting into. If my above review helps you to enjoy the book as it is instead of being disappointed because of inflated or different expectations, then it served a good purpose.