1.How/Why/Where did you buy the book?
Sidney Sheldon and Jeffrey Archer were my initiation into the world of adult fiction (way back in my tweens!). A younger me dreamed of being a highly educated, uber sophisticated, uncommonly courageous heroine of a Sidney Sheldon novel. Running from nefarious criminals or the ultra- long limbs of the law, she was always one step ahead of her foes. Aah! At tentative thirteen, J was an easy to impress reader.
I picked up this book mainly for old times’ sake. To see, if the books could still impress.
2. What is the book about?
Mr Sheldon passed away in 2007, but his legend lives on. Tilly Bagshawe keeps one of his more popular heroines alive in the latest edition of the Tracy Whitney series.
Tracy Whitney is woman whom fate treats poorly. Dealt a horrible hand, she fights tooth and nail to make a life for herself, even if the life is one of crime. She uses her superior intellect and oodles of gumption to con unsavoury criminals and uncouth millionaires from their riches and valuables. Along the way, she meets her match in Jeff Stevens. Another con artist par excellence, Jeff competes with Tracy professionally and they play a jet- setting, high stakes game of cat and mouse. They endeavour to sour and foil each others plans and heists. They also fall in love.
All this happens in the previous book (If Tomorrow Comes). Chasing Tomorrow starts with a marriage scene- of Tracy Whitney and Jeff Stevens. They intend to leave their criminal pasts behind and embark on a low key but comfortable married life. But fate again foils their plans. An old adversary rears his head, and Tracy has to make some hard choices, maybe even return to the life she vowed to leave behind.
3. First impressions?
Not great. Ms Bagshawe seems to have a spent a great deal of her energy on trying to “write like Sidney” rather than on the story itself. Hence the plot suffers and is patchy at best.
4. Final evaluation?
An almost mundane, predictable read. It makes me want to go back to the earlier book and to Sidney Sheldon, to see what the charm was. Would Mr Sheldon’s books still vow and impress the adult me? I wonder..
To give where credit is due – the book is never boring to the point where you want to stop reading it.
5. How long did it take to finish?
A few nights of light, pre- snooze reading.
The author was overtly “safe”. And trying too hard to write in Sheldon’s style. These are the two failings of the book. Instead of building the characters of the protagonists further, and adding nuances to their older versions, they seem inconsistent and stuck (in terms of character).
Also, the last book was so enjoyable because a considerable part of it dealt with the artistry of conning. There is hardly any of that here. It is a shame really though; new age con artistry would be so much more technologically advanced and interesting. There seems to be no research done in this regard, and the little mention of some technology that does exist is juvenile at best.
Comparisons to If Tomorrow Comes may not be fair, but it is unavoidable since this is supposed to be a sequel and also because the Sidney Sheldon name is so prominent on the cover (the font being bigger than the name of the book!). If Tomorrow Comes was a book of it’s times. It was racy and contemporary. Tracy Whitney was introduced to us in the 80s. Now almost three decades later, she is stuck in a time warp. The book therefore seems dated and forcefully contemporaneous.
7. Who would you recommend the book to?
Hardcore Sidney Sheldon fans and occasional readers looking for light mysteries/ thrillers/ crime fiction for travel or vacation reading.
8. Would you read it again?
9. Do you regret purchasing it?
No. I wanted to read the sequel to If Tomorrow Comes, for ol’ times’s sake.
10. Favourite part/ quote from the book?
When Tracy stops being the maniacally maternal, blubbering mess that she is converted to in most of the book, and shows some traces of the old her- gutsy, super- smart and flamboyantly creative!
Till next time..