Book Review Murder In Galena

From my mean Amazon review of Murder In Galena by Sandra Principe 2006:

I like this book as a first effort, and support new authors and love Galena, but this novella truly has shortcomings. First, Galena is represented by about 20% of the book.; This lovely brick-building preserved hilltown in upstate IL is a super setting for a story, so let's hear about it! Most of the story is in a Chicago setting; not nearly as exotic as the title-promised Galena. The death scene, although in Galena and sets the stage for the entire short tome, is very stilted and--well, dead. Second, the characters are flat, lifeless. Although we want to like the protagonist (first person so we should know her well), readers have little sense of what makes her tick, why she's helping friend to the extent she does, etc. Even when she gets eerie threats, they seem almost perfunctory, rather than life-shaking as they would be in reality. Underreaction to almost every aspect of some pretty key life events (no details to avoid spoiler) makes for a very flat ride. Third, show don't tell (the classic writer's canon) is simply not applied here as each character essentially tells our heroine protagonist how they were or were not involved in the murder. No real denoument, no suspense (actions, not words or dialogue, build suspense); in fact, a few chapters (eg painting background story) as patently irrelevent to the story as a whole. Good first effort, however, in fast read (short paragraphs, large text). Bottom line is that details--like fine brushstrokes on a canvas--are missing here, making the story thin and lifeless. Hoping future Karen Prince mysteries add gobs of nuance, aromas, textures on fingers, fear when appropriate. Let us hear an Irish brogue or a lack of diction in the feeble-minded. Let us breathe with the characters the soggy air of the Galena River. Let us learn from action, not dialogue, how your splendid plot unravels. And most critically, let us spend time not galavanting from location to location (even within Chicago, the protagonist goes to umpteen different locations), but allow us to bask in the cobbled regalia of Galena. 

Karen wrote about three other books and has not written in the last couple years, thankfully.

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