Official Review: Chief Among Us by L. A. Noble

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Nisha Ward
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Official Review: Chief Among Us by L. A. Noble

Post by Nisha Ward »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Chief Among Us" by L. A. Noble.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Once upon a time, I discovered a love for mysteries. That love was so powerful, so potent, it led me to L.A. Noble’s Chief Among Us, a choice of which I'm still not sure.

I don’t know what it is about this book, but a lot of things annoyed me. From the paragraphing errors to the way each character never really seemed to like anyone else, I found it hard to get through. Yet, I still gave it 3 out of 4 stars.

Why is that? What is it about this book that caused me to rate it so highly when I hated almost everyone?

This is the story of an organisation in trouble. Central Illinois Insurance Company is currently facing discrimination charges from several disgruntled women working within its various departments. The executives at Central can’t handle more scandals, but that doesn’t matter when an explosive email and several murders change everything. Max Lawson and Michelle Bradbury are called in to investigate, but can they find the connection between the murders and email before it’s too late?

Like Dorothy May Mercer’s Cynthia and Dan: Cyber War, I found Chief Among Us to be a difficult read due to the shallow characters and their rather disingenuous relationships. Max and Michelle, for example, are said to be so close that they might as well be married, but the author never shows us that.

Rather, we get a series of interactions wherein Michelle is constantly jealous of Max’s interactions with Maria, one of the other main characters. Max, however, either treats Michelle like an acquaintance instead of a girlfriend for most of the book, or he disregards their relationship entirely.

That’s not to say anything about the relationship between Maria and her son, Nate. While some allowances can be made for Maria’s detachment from Nate having affected their relationship as mother and son, he seems to regard her more as an enemy than a member of his family with seemingly no explanation.

I did, however, enjoy Maria, Jeffrey and a number of the supporting cast very much. Those characters prevented the book from being too dull and repetitive, while providing some much-needed comedy and levity in turn. They also served to push the central mystery of the novel forward when the investigation became too bogged down by minor details and too-similar clues.

Furthermore, parts of the book could have used more of a break from the tension than others. It was just one thing after another and there was nothing to alleviate the rising chaos within its pages. Good literature often has small moments of peace to give the reader some relief from the action in order to prepare them for what’s to come. There was very little of that here, making it a race from start to finish to find the killer, but leaving very little time for character development in between.

That’s probably just as well, because the mystery is where the book truly shines. Each chapter is carefully constructed to provide either a clue or a red herring to distract the reader from the real culprits. I will admit that I didn’t see the end coming until I’d had three quarters of the book down, and, even then, I couldn’t see how it was all going to come together. Noble does a good job of keeping the reader on their toes and it shines through with her twists and turns.

The action in the novel was also very well written. It was tightly choreographed with no fluff involved, while still pulling the reader into the excitement. My only complaint was that the chase near the end was too abrupt. Too much of it was off-screen, and what wasn’t was interrupted too often by the characters’ banter.

With that being said, I think the answer to my initial question is clear. While the paragraphing errors (and a few grammatical errors too) and disingenuous characters were a downside to the book, the mystery and characters like Maria more than made up for it. With some minor language aside, I’d recommend this to folks who are into mystery novels for the actual mystery, if nothing else.

******
Chief Among Us
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Post by kadinkins14 »

What a wonderfully written review! You have provided great insight. It sounds like the character development is lacking but the action and mystery make up for the lackluster characters. I enjoyed reading your review.
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Post by Nisha Ward »

kadinkins14 wrote:
05 Jan 2020, 13:32
What a wonderfully written review! You have provided great insight. It sounds like the character development is lacking but the action and mystery make up for the lackluster characters. I enjoyed reading your review.
I would say so. They're really not that deep, but on reflection, it is the third book in the series, something I forgot to mention. Anyway, thank you!
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Post by Mbrooks2518 »

As much as I love mysteries, I don't think I'd be able to get passed the unlikable main characters. Thanks for the great review!

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Post by Nisha Ward »

Mbrooks2518 wrote:
05 Jan 2020, 23:14
As much as I love mysteries, I don't think I'd be able to get passed the unlikable main characters. Thanks for the great review!
They definitely made it harder, but thanks for reading!
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Post by esp1975 »

Not being a lover of mysteries, I would probably find the poor characterization too bothersome to put up with the book long enough to realize that the plot was really good.

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Post by Nisha Ward »

esp1975 wrote:
06 Jan 2020, 15:37
Not being a lover of mysteries, I would probably find the poor characterization too bothersome to put up with the book long enough to realize that the plot was really good.
That's fair. Thanks for reading!
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Post by Kelyn »

I'm not one for mysteries or books with the shallow character development of characters who are unlikable to begin with! Thanks for the warning. Wonderfully insightful review!

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Post by Letora »

Ouch, shallow characters are hard for me to read. While it seems like it could be a fast-paced read, I will have to pass on this one.
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Post by Nisha Ward »

Kelyn wrote:
07 Jan 2020, 01:17
I'm not one for mysteries or books with the shallow character development of characters who are unlikable to begin with! Thanks for the warning. Wonderfully insightful review!
As I always say, to each their own. Thanks for reading!
"...while a book has got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the reader it's got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the writer as well." - Terry Pratchett on The Last Continent and his writing.

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Letora wrote:
07 Jan 2020, 06:40
Ouch, shallow characters are hard for me to read. While it seems like it could be a fast-paced read, I will have to pass on this one.
It was very fast-paced, which was quite a benefit to the book! But yes, it would be difficult if you wanted more depth.
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Post by Prisallen »

I also love mysteries, but I prefer to have likable characters that are well developed. I will have to think about this one. Thanks for the great review!

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Post by Nisha Ward »

Prisallen wrote:
09 Jan 2020, 12:04
I also love mysteries, but I prefer to have likable characters that are well developed. I will have to think about this one. Thanks for the great review!
Thanks for reading and yes! I agree with you on that.
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Post by Kanda_theGreat »

I believe the author needs to re-check the characterizstion of this book and introduce carthasis to relieve readers from the tension, if this book is to earn a better score and attract more readers.
Thank you for the review.
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Post by Nisha Ward »

Kanda_theGreat wrote:
12 Jan 2020, 00:51
I believe the author needs to re-check the characterizstion of this book and introduce carthasis to relieve readers from the tension, if this book is to earn a better score and attract more readers.
Thank you for the review.
An astute observation. Thank you.
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