Book Review: Malled to Death by Laura DiSilverio
Movie Making Mayhem at the Mall
"Profits were down three point one percent for the first quarter…and bodies were up two hundred percent." Curtis Quigley, mall manager Malled to Death
The above quote pretty much sums up the action in Laura DiSilverio's mall cop mysteries as the third installment finds Emma-Joy (EJ) Ferris investigating yet another murder at the Fernglen Galleria.
In this installment, movie god, Ethan Jarrett's production company is filming at the mall when prop mistress, Zoe Winters, is found dead in the men's bathroom. EJ isn't too thrilled about the filming since she's trying to keep it a secret that Ethan is her father and she wants to lead a non-Hollywood life. That's why after waking up hung over the day after graduating high school she enlists with the armed forces and became a military cop.
After an accident forced her to resign, EJ decides to settle in Vernonville, VA and steadily applies to different police departments throughout the country so that she can go back into full time police work. Unfortunately, due to her injury, the odds are stacked against her.
During the filming of the action packed movie, EJ also discovers that a stalker is after Ethan and her mother makes an early morning surprise visit to the day Zoe is murdered. EJ keeps trying to discover why her mother was at the mall but never gets a clear cut answer, which worries her since she's afraid she may have something to do with the murder.
Added to this stress, EJ's best friend, Kyra Valentine is attacked following a roller derby bout. EJ's not quite sure what the connection is but after some investigating discovers that Kyra's also in danger of the stalker. Kyra, a former Olympian, brushes everything off.
As in the first two installments, EJ's also been trying to figure out the merchant of Legendary Lola's Cookies owner, Jay Callahan. She knows he's up to something but can't quite put her finger on what he's up to. After being injured he confesses what his purpose is at the mall thus planting a seed for an up and coming romance.
While this installment is an approvement to the previous, DiSilverio's work is still lacking something. I can't put my finger on it but a majority of it has to be the painful lengthy descriptions of characters and settings. Not every minor character needs to be described and I'm also led to believe that there's prejudice against men who are balding along with slightly overweight people. Generally most of the men who are over 50 are balding with a bad comb over are in this book.
Throughout, whenever EJ's co-worker, Joel, is mentioned, we're often reminded that he's slightly overweight and always tends to be eating (whether it's a bagel or a carrot). While the three installments have roughly covered about two and a half months, Joel's only lost about five pounds in his quest to woo a girl he has a crush on.
On the other end of the spectrum, everyone else seems to have everything going for themselves. DiSilverio has described them as in shape, health conscious and they can have almost anything they want. These two issues seem to constantly come up and while the characters are fictitious, I felt as though the author is prejudiced when it comes to appearance. All of the non essential characters (going back to the first installment) basically fit the unattractive role.
If DiSilverio can overcome the long drawn out descriptions and put aside character physicality the long road ahead for EJ and company can be salvaged. Even though there was a little shift in the right direction there's still a long way to go.