Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{April 29, 2012}   {Review} by Cindy McDonald

From Goodreads: The novel is the first in a series about the West family, proprietors of Westwood Thoroughbred Farm, and their friends and associates in the world of horse racing. Socially awkward George gives everyone at the racetrack a creepy feeling and is avoided by all. But he uses an online portal to create a very different alternate identity to romance a multitude of attractive women including Kate West and her brother’s ex-wife, Ava. When Mike West is forced to fire George, frustration and jealousy combine to make the voices in the jockey agent’s head unbearable. Soon people start turning up dead and the path of destruction leads right to the West family home.


This very interesting novel touches upon the dangers of the internet.  I just had a class about how dangerous the internet can actually be, how people can easily fake their identity, steal yours, or infiltrate your entire life online, and it’s really scary.  Add to it a psycho freak that is stalking to you, and it’s game over.  While this book deals mainly with a man who knows his victims, he is able to garner so much about them, especially Kate West, based on what she tells him on an online dating site.  I knew there was a reason I never wanted to try dating online… and George and Kate’s story just solidified it.  Now, while the internet is a part of this story, there is so much more to it—about recognizing warning signs and steering clear of people who don’t act quite right, about being nice, but not too nice, and about not bullying people—anyone—because you just might be messing with a person who will eventually strike back, in the worst way.

George is an absolutely horrible person.  I hated him from the get go and, as I read, hungrily awaited his demise—he is the epitome of evil.  I don’t care if he is a little bit psycho, or if his mother made him this way—EVIL.  Every time he was mentioned in the book, my skin crawled; I hate him!  Of course, he’s a key part of the novel and he’s constantly at the forefront of the story, so I spent a lot of time really angry while I read.  It amazes me that McDonald was able to evoke such strong, passionate feelings of abhorrence from me over a fictional character, but it is a testament of McDonald’s writing ability! 

I liked the pacing of the story, especially as the action picks up almost as soon as the story begins.  George begins his attacks and I kept checking my progress on the eReader because I was thinking it was almost over—and it wasn’t even close.  McDonald sets up her story so that the novel climaxes twice, with George beginning his killing spree, only to be found out and removed as a threat.  However, there are cracks in every system, and he’s soon back, unbeknownst to his potential victims, and it begins all over again.  I liked this because it’s very fast paced and, knowing what we do, the second time around is even more harrowing than the first.  It was very well done.

I was a little annoyed with the cops and the system throughout this novel, though; it almost seemed like the cops and security people had no idea what they were doing.  There were many times that I yelled out at them as I read because their mistakes were too often and too obvious, but even so, their errors help fuel help fuel the story.  Three stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley.


et cetera
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