I seem to be of a minority when it comes to those that have read Christina Kovac’s debut novel The Cutaway. Tagged as a mystery, suspense, and thriller novel, it really doesn’t feel like one to me. While there are elements of a typical thriller, the crime at hand and the persons of interest take a back seat to the main character’s love life for nearly three-fourths of the novel. In fact, the missing woman is practically non-existent for much of the story. To me, that’s a pretty big turn off. I nearly dropped it, actually.
The Cutaway is supposed to focus on Virginia Knightly’s efforts of getting the scoop on a missing person. En route to tracking down the perpetrator, readers encounter the typical sort of motives: affairs, money, political intrigue. It’s a pretty standard plot when it comes to suspense novels. The twists are predictable and the story remains dreadfully slow until the final twenty to thirty percent.
For the most part, the characters of The Cutaway are painfully flat. Most of the male characters, with the exception of the News Director, are handsome with exceptionally whiny personalities. The News Director, Mellay, is a stereotypical angry boss sort who only cares about his own pockets. Even worse, the female characters are all Mary Sues. Sure, they have their own troubling pasts, but for as much suffering as they went through in their childhoods, the effect it has had on their adulthood is fairly minor. All of the women are drop dead gorgeous, not counting one of the witnesses. Ugh – that’s all I can really say about that.
It’s also clear from reading the novel that Kovac’s most familiar with the reporting side of an investigation, which is to be expected from someone who has spent much of their time in the same career as the main character. Unfortunately, it also lends a bit of blandness to the story telling.
Overall, The Cutaway was an extremely painful read. Many times I considered dropping it: I could not get into the characters and I feel that the novel is more suited to the romance genre. There are several questions left unanswered and parts of it feel either rushed or as if Kovac is simply grasping at straws.
I would like to thank Atria Publishing, the author, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy for review.