Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book Review: Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Title: Kiss Kill Vanish
Author: Jessica Martinez
Enjoyment Rating: **
Source: Library Copy
Content Alert: Violence, drug use, some mild language

Valentina, a spoiled rich girl living large in Miami has no idea that the Monets and Van Goghs hanging on the walls of her home were purchased with drug money until the moment she watches her father order her boyfriend to murder someone. Despite her love for the boyfriend, Emilio, Valentina runs. Although she has never done more for herself than fix a sandwich, she's somehow able to escape to Montreal, find a job and an apartment, all while eluding the mob.

The plot of Kiss Kill Vanish feels larger than life, and the book certainly has an epic, outsize quality. The main strength of the novel is the snappy pacing-- the chapters end in a way that make you want to keep reading. The premise of the novel, that Valentina manages to escape from her father's clutches, isn't especially believable considering her lack of life experience, and although she's not as bratty as her sisters are, she's pretty bratty. She may have the savvy to hide from a mob, but she doesn't have the savvy to stay away from scary dudes while doing it. She goes from her 23-year-old hit man to a creepy artist to his even creepier brother and back again. I wanted to see Valentina free from all of the guys when the book ended. I can see that Martinez has some great writing chops (and liked other books I've read better) but Kiss Kill Vanish felt too big and implausible to be a winner for me.

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