Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{July 5, 2011}   Releasing Today: Rogue, by Frederick Ramsay

From Goodreads: Ruth Harris, Sherriff Ike Schwartz’s fiancée, is involved in a near fatal automobile accident. But Ike is convinced the crash was rigged. Even though he is embroiled in a close election, has no jurisdiction over the investigation, and can find no support in the usual law enforcement community, he places himself on leave goes rogue to instigate and seek the person or persons responsible for putting Ruth in a coma.

His efforts attract help from unexpected and irregular sources. Old friends in the covert community step up, covert help from his loyal staff combine to help. It is a journey which takes him first to State’s Rights organizations, then to zealots and dissident academics before it finally ends at home in Picketsville.

Along the way Charlie Garland connects with Eden Saint Claire, his father manipulates the re-election campaign, and the folks at the Crossroads Diner cheer him on.

7th in a series.


The first time I ever saw the above synopsis, I was intrigued, and so I requested a copy through Poisoned Pen Press and Netgalley.  I then put the novel on the back burner because my TBR pile is huge and Rogue wasn’t releasing for a while, so I read other novels.  I came back to this novel not too long ago, in anticipation of Rogue’s release today, and I made a mistake in not rechecking the synopsis through Netgalley, but by relying on Amazon and Goodreads to remind me of the synopsis.  Now, before I go any further, let me state that I’ve never had the following problem before and I’m still not sure how it even happened, but I have emailed Poisoned Pen Press about this and am still awaiting their reply.

So, I looked at Goodreads as I marked the novel as “Currently Reading,” and this is the synopsis I saw:

Ike Schwartz and Ruth Harris had to delay a vacation in Las Vegas because at the last moment, Ruth was required to go to Scone Island, Maine to settle an estate. But that task is soon complicated by one, and then another suspicious death. First, a long term resident slips off a cliff. Was he pushed? Then the woman, who found the body, is, in turn, discovered on a foot path dead from an apparent heart attack, but also with a not easily explained head wound. Ruth finds herself briefly cast as a person of interest in the last death. When things seem to be slipping out of hand, Ike arrives just in time to witness the discovery of a third body—Simon Weiss. Weiss had come to the island to purchase properties with an eye to turning it into a high-end resort. His tactics and personality so alienated the residents that it is no surprise his body is found under the community pier, with a very professionally placed bullet hole in his forehead. As his plans were allegedly financed by the New York mafia, it seems obvious who ordered the hit. This brings the FBI into play, to the distress of the local police. With an array of suspects, motives, and even the island’s history to confound the investigation, Ike, with the aid of local Deputy Sheriff, Tom Stone, and the able, if quirky, assistance of Ruth, unravel these three deaths, but not without heavy costs to villains, residents, and their children. 

You’ll note that the above synopsis is not the actual synopsis for Rogue.  In fact, in all my research, I couldn’t find any book that matched the above synopsis—though I hope there is one because I really want to read it…  But anyway, the above synopsis is what I expected to be reading about.  I began the novel and yes, both Ruth and Ike were present, but there wasn’t a Scone Island, a botched trip to Las Vegas, or murders abounding.  In fact, Ruth was in the hospital in a coma, and I was confused.  I kept reading, but 20% of the way through the novel I stopped, thinking I had made a mistake somewhere along the line and was reading the wrong novel—something I thought was Rogue, but actually wasn’t.  So, I checked my Kindle and found that I was in fact reading Rogue.  Then I checked Amazon and found the exact same synopsis as the one on Goodreads, so I figured that I just hadn’t read far enough into the novel to get to the Scone Island section.  I read a little further, then thought to double check Barnes and Nobel’s website.  Well, I was shocked to find that the real synopsis, the one all the way at the top of this page, was on Barnes and Nobel, and it matched, exactly, what I was reading about in Rogue.  Barnes and Nobel also lists a different cover for the book than what I was seeing on Netgalley, Amazon, and Goodreads. 

Completely confused, I finally went to back to Netgalley and double checked the synopsis.  Lo and behold, their synopsis matched the one on Barnes and Nobel, and though the cover is different (cover above on left), the actual synopsis is the one at the top of this page about Ruth’s car accident.  Interesting.  Of course, my curious self wanted to know what happened, and while I haven’t yet heard back from Poisoned Pen Press, I went back to Goodreads and did some digging. 

What I found: Out of the five editions on Goodreads, four had the wrong synopsis attached.  All editions had the exact same cover (cover above on right), except one, which had the title of Scone Island across the top with the same picture—I wouldn’t have noticed at all had I not been already been looking for discrepancies.  Interesting.  If you ask me, I think the cover of the lighthouse would be perfect for the Scone Island novel—but it doesn’t really fit Rogue at all.  So, I am wondering if perhaps there is a book, or will be a book coming out soon, called Scone Island that will deal with the synopsis I found on Amazon and Goodreads, and perhaps there was a mix-up concerning release dates and covers?  As I’m a librarian on Goodreads, I did change the synopsis to the correct version and I also removed the faulty cover so at least now Goodreads is correct, but there is nothing I can do for Amazon except hope that the powers that be fix it soon. 

Now, I’d love to say that the above events have no bearing on my thoughts of the novel in question, but I’d be lying if I said that.  I was so frustrated throughout the entire process above, waiting and waiting for the Scone Island portion of the novel to begin, that I ended up not liking it as much as I probably would have if I had know what I was getting into ahead of time.  To be fair, Ramsay is a wonderful writer and the novel was suspenseful and mysterious, but as it wasn’t what I expected, I think that clouded my overall intake of the novel.  Perhaps, in the future, I’ll re-read this novel and like it much more, knowing the correct synopsis.  I do plan to read more of Ramsay’s work since he is quite talented (checking the synopsis against all searches prior to beginning any of the books), and I think that, those having the correct synopsis will, in fact, enjoy this novel very much.  Sadly, I can only give it three stars.

et cetera
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