Home - Book Reviews - Suspense/Thriller - Sins of the Mind by LJ Garland and Debbie Gould
Title: Sins of the Mind
Author: LJ Garland and Debbie Gould
Release Date: 2012
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Posted: June 4, 2012
Heat Level: 1
The story begins with Detective Ethan Parker and his partner, Grant Montgomery, arriving at the scene of Judson Roberts’ brutal murder. During the investigation, Ethan discovers that Abigail Montgomery was Judson’s former fiancée, and thus, needs to be questioned. Abigail is also Grant’s sister and happens to be the woman his half-brother, Michael, raped seven years ago. During his interrogation, he finds himself feeling something for her. After three more murders occur, it’s blatantly clear that the murders are connected to Abigail and the male friends in her life. Despite the apparent threat looming over their heads, Ethan and Abigail begin a relationship. Unfortunately, the murderer out there and Ethan’s secret could destroy the budding relationship before it even manages to lift off.
Firstly, let me point out that I wouldn’t necessarily classify Debbie Gould's novel SINS OF THE MIND as a romance. Rather, I’d label it a suspense story that just happens to have two
individuals falling in love. The romance is used more to rivet the reader, considering the murderer’s targets, rather than be the focal point of the story. On the other hand, the suspense side was extremely well-written. The murderer’s motives were chilling, the investigation was realistic, and the details of the modus operandi (MO) were thorough and accurate. My main problem with the story was the characters.
The characters' lack of personality, their lack of attraction, and their obliviousness to the danger they’re in all contributed to my bland opinion. Neither Ethan nor Abby (besides the rape) have had lives before the story or friends that aren’t completely relevant to the plot. They have no hobbies nor do they ever go out. They’re almost psychopathically reclusive. Even Michael has a personality…Furthermore, Ethan apparently feels a sense of closeness to Abby the first time he meets her because of…her fragile looks? Her beauty? Her attitude?
Her strength? All of those or something else altogether? The reasoning behind his feelings is curious and nonexistent. Same goes for Abby. She falls in love with Ethan. But again, I’m unclear on what attracted her to him. Lastly, the character’s apparent obliviousness to the danger they’re in is irritating. For instance, Ethan begins to date Abby knowing there is a killer after the men in her life and he doesn’t even try to keep it a secret. There is also a scene in
the story where Abby is walking on the street and reflecting on how upsetting and unfortunate it is that her male friends are being targeted when an old high school friend bumps into her. He invites her for coffee and SHE ACCEPTS. Truly, this part baffles and appalls me.
Some parts in the novel are also very amusing and startling. The cocky lawyer, Elliot Swanson, who talks about himself in third person, for one, is one memorable character. He’s also the only male friend to not be murdered--must be because of his charm. And the ending reminds me of a scene from the movie, Easy A. A bit strange but entertaining, nonetheless.
I gave this book a 3.5 stars because while it isn’t exceptional, it certainly had its moments. The suspense caught me more than the romance did and the side characters were more entertaining than the main ones. I think the author has potential if she’d focus a bit more on the main characters’ relationship and give them more intelligent thoughts if she's shooting for selling romance.