A review of Disbelief (Michaela & Trisha #4) by Kate Genet

Read June 2013: Some comments are borrowed from my own review of Silent LIght (Michaela & Trisha #1)

Online plot summary: When Trisha discovers that Michaela is planning a romantic weekend away, she’s suspicious that Michaela is going to follow through on her threat to ask Trisha to marry her. She should be over the moon at the thought, but instead she’s sick and scared.
Things are good just as they are, why change them?
Trisha’s never felt she could cope under pressure, and marriage means lots of pressure – not to mess up ever again.
She agrees to the weekend trip anyway, but nothing goes as planned. Lost in the forest, Michaela badly injured, it’s up to Trisha to be the strong one for once.
Or will she let her own disbelief threaten both of them?

My review: From the description, I wasn’t quite sure I’d like this one as well as the three previous entries in the series. Shoulda known that wouldn’t be the case, though. After all, as much as I love a good yarn, no matter what the genre, it’s the characters and their inter-relationships that really motivate my reading and which I most enjoy. Most of the time, anyway. Occasionally, mysteries and urban fantasy are entirely plot-driven, so perhaps there aren’t any relationships to consider. Dullsville! Even then, the protagonist is still important to me as a character; if that character doesn’t somehow strike a chord in me, I pretty much put the series, if it’s part of a series, aside from then on. Rizzoli & Isles comes to mind; hated the characters in The Surgeon; didn’t bother with The Apprentice. Still love the TV series though.

To quote myself — ad infinitum — “But, I digress.”

So, back to Trisha and Michaela, and Disbelief. Admittedly, there aren’t the paranormal elements or mysterious goings-on of the first three books, (which I also highly recommend, by the way.) However, this particular adventure of our intrepid twosome is fraught with danger and drama, which more than make up for the lack of those other familiar features. In fact, I enjoyed this one every bit as much as the earlier novels. Maybe even more. Why? Because I freakin’ love these two characters. I like the secondary characters, too; in fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing a book featuring Trisha’s sister Caro and her girlfriend Sephie. (Persephone’s a really cool character name, too.)

So, why do I care so much about Michaela and Trisha. My comments from the earlier books still apply: “They’re funny, especially in their interactions. They’re feisty, but in a very non-abrasive way. They’re smart as hell, though Trisha’s somewhat insecure in her intellect…”
This insecurity applies particularly to Disbelief, since it’s her (imagined) tendency to fuck things up, and her considered unworthiness to become Michaela’s wife, that trouble her. “They’re brave…They’re resourceful and they’re caring. ‘Delightful’ is a word I don’t use very often — or, at all — but it seems the right one, here.”

I would add to those previous comments that Michaela and Trisha, and Caro and Seph, too, are eminently believable; despite their adventures, they seem like someone you might bump into at the local supermarket. Don’t ya just wish… In fact, a hallmark of Ms Genet’s writing is that, no matter how outré the situation, it’s utterly convincing.

If you’ve read more than a few of my reviews, you probably know that shoddy craftsmanship, I.e., technically poor writing, is one of my hot button issues. I’ve had not a quibble with that aspect in any of the books, save that, in Shadows Fall, Trisha and Caro often sound like they’re from NZ instead of the States. That’s gotten much, much better in the ensuing novels.

Someone writing about Silent Night, the opening novel of the series, pointed out the writer’s propensity toward short sentences and somewhat unvarying sentence structure. Normally, those things bother me, too, but, with Ms Genet, not at all. I think her innate story-telling ability overrides such considerations. To be considered a talented writer, for me, anyway, doesn’t require spinning convoluted Faulknerian or Proustian prose, although I admit, I do groove on Your Man, Jimmy Joyce.

Success as a writer, again, in my seldom if ever humble opinion, means drawing the reader into the story, immersing him, in fact, Kate Genet does that in spades, folks. Quite often simple, lucid prose is best for many types of story. Hemingway understood this, and though I’m not a huge fan, he’s certainly no lesser writer than the others I mentioned. In any case, to steal a word from Kelli Jae Baeli’s review of Disbelief, there’s an eloquence to Genet’s writing. Personally, I’d call her style spare, with not one single word ever getting in the way of the important thing, the story.

Once again, I’ve gone on (and on, and on) for a long time. As I’ve said before, if I like a writer’s work — and I really, really like Kate Genet’s — I consider it important to convince other people to read it, too. I like to read detailed reviews because I find them more convincing, whether pro or con. If you’re just gonna say, “I liked this book,” don’t bother. I wanna know why. And that, to me, is never a simple thing.

In short, though, read this book, you’ll be glad you did.

Incidentally, and completely irrelevant to the actual review, I thought the cover picture was cute.

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