While the Emperor Slept

11 Aug

I tried. I tried several times. I like historical mysteries, and I love mysteries set in Ancient Rome, but I could not get into this book. The writing style kept me at a distance from the characters and the plot. Maybe it’s my pet peeve but any time an author uses the word “smirk” as a descriptor, I instantly hate that character. Author B. R. Stateham spends a lot of time describing, as in “Decimus Julius Virillis chuckled bemusedly…and smiled fondly…while Gnaeus [had] a wide grin of brash amusement on his face…”  That’s ONE SENTENCE. Or, “there was a panache, an arrogant joviality and confidence in the man’s gait he found satisfying and familiar…”  Or, “that flash of an arrogant grin as a breeze ruffled the young man’s hair roguishly…”

Lots of internal monologue, equally laded with overwrought adjectives, very little action.  And worst of all, I didn’t care – didn’t care who “did it,” didn’t care about the protagonists, didn’t care to finish it…

This blunt review in exchange for an advanced reader’s copy from Netgalley.

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