Title: The Actuary: A Rural English Mystery (The Calculated Risk #1)
Author: K.T. Bowes
Published Date: July 10th 2017
Genre: Romantic Thriller
***THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO NERD GIRL IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***
Emma is a young mother raising her son in terrible poverty, when she runs into her former Russian lover. The gorgeous Rohan Andreyev is determined to pursue her but the spiteful women who surround him, conspire to make Emma’s life unbearable. When Rohan’s work as an actuary spills over into his personal life, Emma finds herself at the centre of a dangerous conspiracy that will leave her in the hands of ruthless men. Into the intrigue comes Rohan’s business partner, Christopher Dolan. Irish, handsome and with an agenda of his own, Emma struggles to understand whether he is friend or foe. The men in her life seem determined to win or destroy her. Emma has a choice to make; whether to stay in the sleepy town of Market Harborough or disappear with her son forever.
Whatever she decides, there is one good reason why her fate will be linked to Rohan Andreyev’s until the end of time. She loves him, but he is the Actuary and his job isn’t quite what she believes.
The description of The Actuary by K.T. Bowes is more intriguing than most of the book. The book starts strong, but it then gets bogged down in detail. I was expecting a story line more like the movie, The Accountant, but The Actuary reads more like a soap opera with international espionage thrown in the mix. And like a soap opera, it is addicting.
Filled with unlikable characters. The only redeeming character is Anton, and he is dead from the start of the book! Nicky the six year old sometimes talks as if he is 3, sometimes like he is a 16-year-old thug, and sometimes like a 40-year-old man. Emma, for all her complaining about the evil Alanya, likes to use the threat of physical violence to settle problems. Emma is supposedly college educated, but frequently her speech (and her son’s) is like a Cockney East Ender—and one who didn’t finish school at that. She pines for Rohan but desires male attention so much that she goes on a date with a stranger, Christopher. The mysterious Harley Man, who seems to have regular interaction with 6 year-old Nicky, is a bit creepy. Emma isn’t as careful a parent as she thinks since she has no clue her son is regularly speaking to strangers. Rohan proclaims his love of Emma but strings along Felicity in a little-too-chummy “friendship”. Christopher pursues Emma even though he knows she is secretly married to Rohan. These seriously flawed characters are perfect for a soap opera style drama.
The secondary characters are the most interesting in the story. From the abused Mel, to the angelic Allaine, to the neighborhood enforcer, Fat Brian these characters are interesting and make Emma a little more human and introspective. Felicity and Alanya are stereotypical evil female adversaries. Alanya is such a stereotype that she is even the “evil stepmother” to Emma’s “Cinderella”.
In terms of the plot, it was a long- winded story; I felt it would benefit from more editing to tighten up the story. The meandering and random additions made the book feel unfocused at times. For example, the addition of the auction scene was cute, but irrelevant to the overall plot. It added little to nothing to the story.
There are some basic mistakes that I found mildly irritating. The story takes place in the UK, but the author has the main character using US colloquialisms such as “I’ll take the fifth”, using baseball bat in one scene and a cricket bat in another, and inquiring about Social Security benefits instead of using the phrase National Insurance (however, those terms may have now both be in use). The first scene takes place at a fancy wedding, where Emma is wearing a lovely dress. However, in the rest of the book, she is described as owning nothing (not even basic furniture) and dressing in rags. The Russian actuary’s name, Rohan, has Irish and Indian origins, but I found no online references to the name having a Russian tie/use.
This romantic thriller has a convoluted plot, and a lot of angst given the stated age of the characters. It is as if, the characters who married at 16 and 19 years of age are still in a young-adult-style relationship seven years later. The use of characters not having time to talk and avoiding addressing the underlying issue was used to create romantic angst.
I was really disappointed in the heroine/narrator’s fade out as the story culmination comes to its height. It is an easy end for an author, but very dissatisfying for this reader.
I loved that the author made Rohan’s situation realistic. He came back from war with a lost limb and suffering nightmares. The author respectfully treated the topic of the vet’s lost leg, and made the character into a handsome hero whose disability didn’t define him. To me, this was a highlight of the book.
Another highlight of the book is the author’s respectful treatment of women trying to get out of abusive relationships and start a new life for their family. A variety of socio-economic levels are found at the school Nicky eventually attends. The development of strong female friendships was a highlight of the book (even though it was not integral to the overall plot).
Overall, The Actuary by K.T. Bowles was an okay read for me. I felt compelled to finish the story even though I didn’t find the characters or the plot engaging.
***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official. For more information regarding our reviews please visit our Fan Site: www.facebook.com/NerdGirl.NG***
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