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One False Move is the fifth novel by Alex Kava but doesn't include her normal lead character Maggie O'Dell, indeed this novel is a stand alone story away from the trials and tribulations of the FBI profiler.
Indeed in many ways this is a strange stand alone novel and you feel as though at times the author is hankering to add her favourite character into the storyline.
Alex Kava is an author specialising in novels featuring serial killers and the FBI profiling team including Maggie O'Dell and RJ Tully. They are a bit of a modern day Mulder and Scully except in this case the roles are flicked with Tully (the man) as the solid straightlaced character and Maggie as the Fox volatile one. They are asked to investigate the murders as they happen and the books are written as first person perspectives from their viewpoints, and Dr. Gwen Pattinson (Maggie's psychiatrist friend), and the killer. Each chapter is in a sole first person voice. She tends to write short chapters but has decent character definement and development.
In this novel, we are presented with a strong female lead in Melanie Starks who in a moment of weakness allows her volatile brother to take her 17 year old son Charlie on a bank job. The bank job goes wrong and the three are on the run, they escape into the nearby national [ark and turn up at author Andrew log cabin. They take him hostage and force him to take them on the run in his car and the novel really starts. The book is set in the Boston area of New Jersey.
Other characters are the attorney who got Jared, Melanies brother off the murder charge he was on and Emily a detective who had arrested Jared in the first place. The book starts as an investigation into a bank job gone horribly wrong, to a hostage situation to a travel book to a final shootout. In some ways the book is trying to be too many things, it wants to be clever in the portayal of the family and past of Melkanie and Jared, in the sleaziness of Jared's attorney, to the filial duties of Melanie over her son Charlie and how much is he responsible for the murders in the bank and the problems Andrew has with writting a novel.
You can feel the author in this book, its almost as though she wanted to be the author Andrew in the book. I can almost feel the thought "Hmm what would happen if when I was in a log cabin trying to write if three runaway thieves broke in?" It almost works but the confusion rather throws the novel off and you wonder if the author really knew what to do with the story once it developed.
So this is a stand alone away from the O'DEll novels and to be truthful its in no way up to the same standard as those novels, its a bit formulaic and rather fizzles out rather than ending with a bang. I'm glad the author has returned to the O'Dell novels and is back on better form in her next novel. The characters of Jared as the neurotic angry Jared is a strong one but underused, Melanie as the women torn between the two men in her life is a complex one and the author attempts to look at this but rather wimps out on the deal and soon pushes the novel into a standard 'what would you do in this situation' novel.
This is an ok novel but nothing more than that, Alex Kava's novels start off well but I'm hoping this isn't a theme that continues and her writing starts to become predictable and tedious.