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Fern Michaels: The Nosy Neighbor

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Pocket (Paperback), ISBN 0743477499

Book: fern michaels, nosy neighbour
Fern Michaels describes herself as "one hell of a story teller" and doesn't consider herself a great writer. I've enjoyed her novels for years. But the story she tells in The Nosy Neighbor includes flaws and missed opportunities that a writer of her talent should rise above.

The novel opens on a shaky premise. Lucky Lucy Baker walked away from a lucrative law career and her unbroken string of wins. The change of scene seems more about giving the author an easier lifestyle to describe than a conscious choice of her character.

When the scales of justice tipped and a jury declared her unrepentant pedophile client innocent, Lucy went on hiatus to a small house in the New Jersey burbs. There she lived quietly typing up orders for an elderly neighbor's popcorn ball business, and indulged her adorable canine, Sadie. The choice to move from top criminal lawyer to typist and stay-at-home dog lover fails to fit the profile of such a driven woman. The case could be made for such a change, but Michaels fails to make it.

Sadie, in love with Clueless Cooper the dog-next-door, brings Clueless and his loveable master into Lucy's life just as she starts planning her wedding. The FBI enter her life on the heels of the hapless neighbor, and her life takes a nightmarish turn. The three interchangeable agents explain that her fiancé plans to kill her -- or at least their best information indicates he might. Two of the three agents believe Lucy served as an accomplice to her scumbag jet-setting, money-laundering fiancé. But no one satisfactorily explains why Lucy's fiancé would stoop to crime.

At the same time, Lucy takes a fall on the ice, bangs her head and gets zapped by an electric wire from out of nowhere. She develops the ability to read thoughts, but not to control this "gift." Shortly thereafter the heavens open up and pelt the area with the worst blizzard in recent history.

Michaels writes several entertaining, imaginative, thoughtful and touching series, but sadly this stand-alone novel falls short of her usual standards. Still, those who enjoy adorable dogs and sappy guys-next-door who talk to their moms on Sunday and make meatloaf for their dogs every day should find this bit of whimsy with a twist of under-developed ESP entertaining.

Dawn Goldsmith

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