Review of ‘Money Creek’ by Anne Laughlin
This was quite the story and honestly, I’m a little unsure how much I liked this. I think I have to go with a little over 3 stars since 3 stars is an average rating for me and I think this deserves a little more than that for the chance Laughlin took. I like it when authors take a chance especially when they know it could affect sales. To me, it means the author has a story they feel really strongly about telling and I like that.
The reason I mention Laughlin taking a chance is that her main character is a drug addict. I love Ashley Bartlett’s Cash Braddock series which stars a drug dealer (it is so clever), and I thought Jesse J. Thoma’s new book ‘Serenity’, about a recovering drug addict, was really well done. Because I enjoyed these examples, I thought maybe I can handle a book about a drug addict. The answer is not as much.
There is clearly a difference between a sober drug dealer and a sober addict to an addict who currently uses. To be as frank as I can, this book drove my anxiety a bit nuts. It’s not easy to read about this main character, with all her bad decisions, over and over. I did not like her for most of the book. Laughlin does work hard to make her sympathetic and I think she started to win me over near the end, but overall she exhausted me.
I am going to put the romance tag on this but I don’t feel good about it. The character who is the addict, Clare, uses drugs and alcohol almost 24/7. I have to wonder would the other character, Freya (I like that name), even be attracted to the personality of a sober Clare. Clare talks about how she is not the same person on drugs, especially when she mixes with alcohol, so is it a romance if a person is attracted to someone who is not their real self but an altered version? It’s a question I can’t help but wonder about. Besides that issue, the romance also moved too quickly for me. It’s not insta-love but it is fast and with so much else going on in the book I don’t think the romance had time to really develop.
There was some excitement which I enjoyed. The book starts off with a bang and immediately grabs you which is always a nice touch. There is also a baby mystery. I found the mystery to be really easy to guess, but it still kept my attention. But what I really found to be the most enjoyable part was any of the law parts. Clare is a semi-functioning attorney and the case she was working on was really interesting. Laughlin clearly knows the law and those parts were well done. I just wish we got to see even more of the big case.
The ending is interesting and I think people will have some opinions on it. I wasn’t crazy about it while I was reading, but the more I sat and thought of it, the more I respected it and was happy that Laughlin wrote it that way. For me, it leaves things open for a sequel that has lots of potential.
If you want to take a chance on something very different from the usual lesfic books, this novel is for you. It was a bit much for me personally, but I’m glad to see a book out there like this. Making me, as a reader, uncomfortable in this situation is okay and probably one of Laughlin’s goals anyway. So I have to give her props for sticking her neck out and writing a book that is not cookie-cutter with recycled ideas. If she writes a book 2, I will read it. 3.5 Stars.