For me, the third book in a series is the pivotal installment, the one that makes up my mind about whether or not I will stick with the series or drop it.
The first book in the Bright & Fletcher series was solid, a bit slow moving, but showed real potential. The second book really picked up speed, so I was sure the author was getting into a groove and that by the time we got to book three, the characters would break through and take some steps, big or small, that would show positive development and improvement. I also thought the plotting would tighten up a little too, as Issabella and Darren have been together long enough to play off each other quite nicely and the storylines would only get better, and maybe they would actually make a court appearance.
Sadly, this one didn’t quite pull that off, and I ended up feeling a little let down. The set up was fairly ludicrous to be honest, but it’s fiction, so I played along with an open mind. But, the plot was super thin with the conclusion to the case being anti-climatic, predictable, and a little bit unethical, and highly improbable.
Recently, I was told I often pass judgment on book characters, coming down on them a little too hard, but in all honestly, Darren’s drinking and getting thrown in the clink is getting old. This book picks up one year after Darren’s brush with death, and there has been zero change in him. While Izzy, Theresa, and their friend, the judge, all understand why Darren hit rock bottom, It’s time to stop enabling him, and get him into rehab and therapy. I want Darren to be healthy, stop playing games, be the man Izzy deserves, and put his ghost to rest.
But, the way the book ended, it looks as though the old nemesis that haunts Darren, will remain a loose end, and the focus seems to be moving in an entirely new direction, one that could be interesting, but was not how I expected things to go.
I’m a little on the fence about going forward with the series from here. The fourth installment is due in February, so I have a little time to mull it over. I am interested in learning more about Darren’s past, and so my curiosity will probably get the better of me. I do hope that coming clean to Izzy will open a door to healing, so that their crime solving skills can solidify and maybe Darren will allow Izzy to win one for a change. Izzy needs to get a little credit too, Darren will have to do a little more scut work, because it can’t always come so easy for him, despite his experience, so that Izzy isn’t left behind, always walking in Darren’s shadow, bailing him out in one way or another at every turn. These characteristics were fine in the beginning, were understandable, at times were even a little funny, but, those same quirks have begun to irritate me at this point. Just sayin’
Overall, this was the weakest installment in the series, in my opinion, but if you plan on sticking with the series, this book is a must read, in order for you to understand the context of Darren’s next adventure. I highly recommend reading the first two books in the series before starting this one. Recommended for those following the series.
The case gets personal for Detroit-based legal—and romantic—partners Darren Fletcher and Issabella Bright when they're hired to solve a gruesome murder on a remote private island Bright & Fletcher are summoned to Wailing Isle, the sprawling private estate of one of Michigan's most legendary—and reviled—retired judges, Bernard Prosner. Judge Prosner's troubled nephew has turned up dead, run through with what appears to be a sword straight out of Braveheart. But is the ailing magistrate more interested in Darren and Issabella finding the killer…or keeping the whole thing off the record? From the nearby small town of Put-In-Bay, Michigan, to the student housing of Ann Arbor, Darren and Izzy uncover a web of lies and loyalty so deep it dates back to World War II. But when Darren alone solves the case, he'll do anything to bring down the evil mastermind behind it all…anything except reveal the truth to the woman he loves. Book three of Jonathan Watkins's Bright & Fletcher Mysteries