April 21, 2015

Book Review: Charade (Sabby Carlyle #1) by Kristy Douglas

Charade (Sabby Carlyle book #1)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Get a copy here!

I was intrigued by the pretty cover and interesting premise. And the author mentioning there would be a bit of romance involved, so here I am! :)
Charade started casually at first. The main female character was introduced in ease over a humorous situation. If I missed the blurb, I’d no doubt think this book was a funny contemporary read. Then the first twist came, and from there the tension gradually stirred up.

As the only heir of Carlyle empire, Sabine Elise Carlyle was not the typical of spoiled girl who’s living by flashing her last name. She had her own passion in acting field. That’s what brought her out of her grandma’s apartment in Upper East Side where she’d been living for fifteen years. Life treated her good but it seemed there was a dent in her relationship with her grandma. She loved her grandma, really, but ever since she went to college two years ago, their bound was starting to get loose. Busy with her own world, she often ignored her call, moreover visited her on the weekend. So when Sabby once again didn’t pick up her grandma’s call that one night, she was sure the guilty feeling would never leave her side as the call was the last one she would ever received from her. 

Finding out her grandma’s being murdered, Sabby was determined to find the killer. She might have no experience whatsoever in dealing with this kind of issue. But the guilt of leaving her grandma unaccompanied that night and the determination to bring justice for her grandma, made her ready to take just every dangerous step in the process.

There came Agent Nathan from FBI who took part in the investigation of her grandma’s case. Sabby found comfort just from his existence. And that was what Nathan did; he tried to put her on ease as he worked hard to solve the case at the same time. But Sabby wanted more than just a comfort feeling, she wanted real answer for her never-ending question: who killed her grandma? So when a mysterious man named Nightengale came to her life out of nowhere to help her find the culprit, Sabby didn’t think twice to team up with him. 
Sabby was aware that she put her life on danger by involving herself in this case, but she had no idea that she was surrounded by people with lots of hidden dark facts. What would happen when all of the things get unraveled? Would she be in more danger? Or maybe it would ease her way to finish the mission?

For a mystery read, Ms. Douglas succeeded in building up the tension and leading the readers into a deep curiosity. The tense feeling of guessing this and that and suspecting every character were such an interesting experience for me. I remembered the day when I loved curling up with Agatha Christie’s books and doing a mental-guessing while reading. Charade came with a lot of twist that made it actually kind of difficult to reckon who’s the culprit. Several times I found myself suspecting wrong character. It’s kind of frustrating yet exciting as well.
From the well-thought scenes and careful choosing of words, we could easily say that the author had an excellent understanding of this topic. I loved that she presented all the ‘hows’ out there for readers to know. It made the book rich of details. Thus, strengthened the plot and set it a far from being called as ‘immature’ story. For me, it felt like watching Ocean Eleven movie.
What I found lacking was somehow lying on the character Sabby. I actually liked her personality shown during introduction. She was a good down-to-earth rich girl with a passion in acting. She also had this comical side as well, making her a good candidate of favorite heroine. But then after her grandma accident, she decided to take an action to bring justice for her family. It might seem as a bravery act for some, but for me it was kind of reckless of her and somehow ruined her character. I saw Sabby as a thoughtful and considerate girl, and her taking a heroic act like that was out of character.
And there were two male characters taking parts in her life, Nathan and Nightengale. I wouldn’t call their relationship as a love triangle issue because clearly none of them was in a relationship with each other. I was expecting Sabby would build some real feeling to just one particular man. But once again, I was disappointed with her lack of sensitivity towards her own feeling. Actually, I didn’t see any chemistry built up between Sabby and Nathan nor Sabby and Nightengale. Even though along the way Sabby became closer with the latter, still their togetherness was happened under an incidental circumstance. It’s not surprising though, because after all, the author underlined that this was a mystery/thriller book. But when it was said that there’d be romance involved, I half-expected that it would take a part in making a twist in the story (after all both men were actively involved in the main issue) but this one was lacking of chemistry, hardly romantic, and had a sense of instant love. I am a romance lover so when I’m faced with this situation, I think it’s best to leave out the romance part and just focusing on the mystery part. Or if the romance is really needed to be present, then their chemistry needs to be dwelled on deeper.
And a bit complaint about the ending, as much as I enjoyed the tension and thrill in every chapter, the ending was a bit off sadly. I suspected that maybe it’s because there’ll be a second installment of the book. Clearly it’s not possible to put things down like that (would be unprofessional in FBI side, my opinion…).
I wanted to give 5 stars but I settled with 4 because of my issue with the romance part. But overall, Charade with no doubt could satisfy your thirst of good mystery-solving and thriller read with rich details. Recommended to those who love mystery book!

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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