Vanished in Vallarta: A Bradford Fairfax Murder Mystery by Jeffrey Round
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
A weak entry in the series.
Unlike his Dan Sharp series, this Bradford Faixfax series has always been a stretch from reality. The mysterious agent tied to a postal box in a super-secret organization without a name. This book stretches credulity further and for me it was too far, it stretched until it broke. In addition to the Bond-lite we have past lives, karma, spiritual quests and a 2 page dream sequence with coffins and snakes. When Zach starts talking about sending messages telepathically my eyes were firmly rolled back in my head.
Looking back on my reviews of the other two books in the series, I see lines I highlighted that bothered me, and the trend continues with this book. A list of artists Bradford would never ever listen to, including Abba and Madonna, but the song “Tell Him” features prominently in the book? At a night club, a doorman is cherry picking guests: “There is no fascist like a minority fascist, Brad noted, recalling sadly how the majority of Hitler’s elite had been gay.” Comparing a bouncer to Hitler and stating the unprovable as fact. Nice.
My review of the first in the series noted engaging characters like Ruby and Cinder. There’s none in this book. We have literally a drunken Indian and a couple that doesn’t speak English. Also this book doesn’t have the series’ trademark cover art, but it can be mostly forgiven with handsome photos of a young Round himself.
I also noted on page 160, “The audience looked overheard” should say overhead.
I think I’m done with this series. At a scant 234 pages the book felt too long. The plot meanders too far, covering for the fact that it doesn’t really exist. I just finished the book and I still don’t know what it was about. Kidnap Céline Dion plot? Double agents? Bank robbery? Is there a point?
The moments I appreciated most were the scenes set at the Blue Chairs and the tours of the PV area. I went once and loved it, will be going back soon. I wanted more of this, less spiritual mumbo-jumbo.
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