14 January 2016

Review: A Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble

A Little Too Predictable

Mallory Davis is a widowed jewelry designer from Bangor, Maine, and the mother of fourteen-year-old Haylie. Life is hard but she’s making it when one phone call changes everything. Her estranged father calls, and she heads back to her home town to find him dead. Possibly murdered. She reconnects with her teenage sweetheart to try and find who was after her father—and who is now after her and her family.

Mermaid Moon incorporates characters and locations from some of Colleen Coble’s previous contemporary romantic suspense novels, some of which I’ve read and some of which I haven’t. This meant several of the (many) characters introduced in the early chapters were recurring characters from previous novels, which I didn’t know. I found the number of characters confusing, but this perhaps wouldn’t have been an issue if I’d read all the previous books (and read them recently. Like, not read 100+ books since).

The characters and plot were interesting enough, but I did find the story a little predictable. The identity of the evildoer was pretty obvious from the start, although the motive was less obvious (and felt almost contrived when it was finally revealed). I also guessed the other big secret long before it was revealed, which took away from the suspense. In contrast, the big mysteries were never properly answered. Why did Mallory run away? (I didn’t find the reason given convincing.) Why did she marry so quickly after leaving?

I was also puzzled by the scene with forensic artist Gwen Marcey, ironically the only minor character I recognised. Gwen is the heroine of the excellent Gwen Marcey thrillers by Carrie Stuart Parks, yet there was no acknowledgement that the author had “borrowed” characters from another novel. Surely she had--it seems beyond coincidence that two authors would imagine a character with the same unusual name and almost unique occupation. A strange puzzle which unfortunately distracted me from the main plot.

Overall, I found Mermaid Moon to be a solid suspense novel, but lacked the spark of originality I’ve seen in some of Colleen Coble’s earlier novels.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.


  1. I will be reading this book to review later in the month, so I briefly skimmed your review. (In review situations, I like to wait until after I have read a book before I read what other's thought.) I was intrigued that Gwen Marcey shows up in the novel and that there is no acknowledgement by Coble. I read her Acknowledgments page and sure enough no mention is made of Carrie Stuart Parks. Hmm. I have never encountered cross-over characters from different authors. They do have the same publisher, so it had to be a coordinated effort. I would like to know how it came about. Thanks for reviewing. I will be back at the end of the month to read you review more closely.

    1. Hi Beckie
      I noticed both books were from Thomas Nelson, and I thought using characters from another book was an interesting marketing idea - but only if they actually acknowledge the other book. Otherwise, it comes across as weird. And surely they have to have permission as well? I mean, I wouldn't be allowed to write a book where a magician named Harry Potter meets an archer named Katniss Everdeen, would I?

  2. You could try. But I bet a letter from an attorney would show up in the mail. Thanks for your reviews. You always give me something to think about.