I'm so disappointed with this book that it's not even funny.
Apparently having an interesting premise and decent writing doesn't really do a lot of good if the story felt like a random chain of deus ex machina scenes and instances. I'm not even so sure that much of the story telling was planned outside of the basic outline. It also didn't help that, while I was expecting to read a chilling crime thriller, the book read like a contemporary romance -- the entire first half of the book was dedicated to "The List" and a lot of insignificant details of the four women and their social and love lives. By the time the first murder occurred (in fact, several chapters before the first murder occurred), I was already starting to get bored.
It didn't help that what was presented to us as sarcasm and wit just rolled off of me like a tacky joke that no one understood but the person telling it.
The characters aren't the best in the world, and as far as fictional characters go, they're not the most likable either.
Aside from that, I felt like the whole ordeal of "The List" getting all the media coverage that it did was a bit too outrageous to be believable. Before anyone even started dying, I'd already pinpointed who the culprit would be and so it didn't surprise me one bit when we finally get our confirmation. Also, the investigation of the entire case was laughable; it was hard to believe that so many possible leads could have been overlooked before the second victim was killed.
I'm not certain I understand why this book has made so many top ten lists; maybe it's just me. Maybe I just didn't know how to enjoy it properly. But certainly, there's no doubt that the writing was so dumbed down that I felt a little insulted -- the tone was flippant with comic attempts, but the word usage and the style felt like it was written for children. I don't care that there were multiple sex scenes in here (which were fairly vanilla at best), but the writing didn't feel like it was adult level.
Anyway, this is my first Linda Howard novel and I've seen her praised in many places. So either I chose a bad one to start... or something. But I'm going to give another book by her a chance before I move on.
There is one thing for certain: this book really DOES put into perspective the differences and the advancements in technology we've seen in the past fourteen years. Thinking back to the year 2000, I'm reminded of bulky cell phones and Caller ID boxes, no data plans and few households that even had cable internet or Wifi. The fact that none of the girls in this book had cell phones surprised me for a bit until I realized what year this book was actually written.
Fourteen years ago, I was still in high school carrying a large Nokia without texting capabilities or even voicemail. The wonders of technology...