The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber and Predator by Patricia Cornwell

I am putting these reviews together because of the stark differences in these two books and the similarities.

Genres:  Macomber – (romantic?) fiction, Cornwell – murder mystery

Blurbs: (Goodreads) Macomber: Jo Marie Rose first arrives in Cedar Cove seeking a sense of peace and a fresh start. Coping with the death of her husband, she purchases a local bed-and-breakfast—the newly christened Rose Harbor Inn—ready to begin her life anew. Yet the inn holds more surprises than Jo Marie can imagine.

Her first guest is Joshua Weaver, who has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, and Joshua has little hope that they can reconcile their differences. But a long-lost acquaintance from Joshua’s high school days proves to him that forgiveness is never out of reach and love can bloom even where it’s least expected.

The other guest is Abby Kincaid, who has returned to Cedar Cove to attend her brother’s wedding. Back for the first time in twenty years, she almost wishes she hadn’t come, the picturesque town harboring painful memories from her past. And while Abby reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes she can only move on if she truly allows herself to let go.

Cornwell: Scarpetta, now freelancing with the National Forensic Academy in Florida, digs into a case more bizarre than any she has ever faced, one that has produced not only unusual physical evidence, but also tantalizing clues about the inner workings of an extremely cunning and criminal mind.

She and her team — Pete Marino, Benton Wesley, and her niece, Lucy — track the odd connections between several horrific crimes and the people who are the likely suspects. As one psychopath, safely behind bars and the subject of a classified scientific study at a Harvard-affiliated psychiatric hospital, teases Scarpetta with tips that could be fact — or fantasy — the number of killers on the loose seems to multiply. Are these events related or merely random? And what can the study of one man’s brain tell them about the methods of a psychopath still lurking in the shadows?

What didn’t like: I read Predator first and was so disturbed by it that I wanted to pick something more low key to listen to next, and I picked just the book. The Inn at Rose Harbor is so low key and idyllic that it was not very interesting to listen to. Don’t get me wrong, I like low key. I really enjoy Jane Karon’s Medford series (I’ve read 2 or 3 of those) but the characters in Karon’s stories seem more real, more fleshed out and the endings not always so boxed up with a pretty bow that you could see coming a mile away. Where “pretty bow” is as far from Predator as any book I have read. It was so horrific and graphic it almost seemed it was written for people who enjoy that short of  lunacy in real life. I would say Cornwell’s writing was better – less stilted, less of the passive voice than Macomber’s. But I had a hard time following Cornwell’s story line at times with it switching back and forth between different points of view. Macomber does the same switching but since the story is easier to follow, I got lost less often.

What I liked: I was looking for low key with Macomber’s book and I got it. It was a sweet story with lots of happy endings. Lorelei King narrated it and did a wonderful job. Predator was well written overall with a good plot and the nastiest characters I’ve read in a long time (thank goodness) so she did well with that. I also couldn’t guess who the bad guy was so the ending was a surprise.

Rating: 3/5 for both with the caveat that Predator was the better written story but too disturbing for me to like.

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