Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Affect of Red by P. A. Davis

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In essence, this had the makings of a promising novel about the heinous crime of human-trafficking, especially of young children. Camille is a young attorney, living in San Francisco, about to expose a huge trafficking operation, masterminded by the Russians, but for her own safety finds herself in a witness protection programme, taking with her a man, Robert, she has just met (love at first sight in a bar, wearing a red dress). When the heat is off, she and Robert return to San Francisco and make a life together. Although deliriously happy together, they both realise that they cannot take their safety for granted, especially when the Russians make their presence felt in a way that touches their lives in a devastating manner. 

Unfortunately, I found this book rather frustrating. Camille and Robert’s flee to anonymity was far more public than I would have thought a witness protection programme should be, and they head for proximity to one arm of the Russian operation, which seemed a bit daft to me, nor did you get any sense of fear of the danger of their situation. Robert just seemed to walk out of his job without so much as a by-your-leave; I wanted to know more about why Camille was in so much danger; there just wasn’t enough information about the atrocity of the Russian operation, and most frustratingly, whenever the story was moving towards some action or intrigue, we were cut off and abruptly taken to 10 or 2 or 4 years later. Most regrettably, this novel was seriously under-edited, with misspellings, missing words, and poor punctuation which really marred the reading experience. I kept wanting to say The Effect of Red and it seems even the characters couldn't make up their minds whether it was the 'affect' or effect'. 

However, Camille and Robert were very likeable, as was her best friend, Stacey, who had the most expressive southern phrases, and I could almost detect her appealing drawl. Love, loyalty, friendship, courage, goodness and bravery were qualities that stood out in the story and Davis has a pleasant, easy-going style. 

Overall, the novel lacked substance and turned out to be a romantic suspense, when I think it really wanted to make an appeal and create awareness about an appalling crime that is a present-day curse. With a seriously thorough edit, though, it would make a pleasant read.  With a little extra attention to the plot, it will make an excellent read.

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