Echo After Echo is a f/f murder mystery set in a theater. I thought a book with a premise such as this couldn’t be boring, but Echo After Echo had a massive pacing problem, and that wasn’t even the only thing that went wrong.
Even mystery books I didn’t love – for example, Far From You and Dangerous Girls – took me half a day. I read 90% of my one true weird love A Line in the Dark in one afternoon.
Echo After Echo took me almost a week.
What I love about mystery books is that the tension keeps me reading even when the characters are as interesting as cardboard cutouts. But here? The pacing was all over the place, and the tension went with it. There are two deaths at the beginning, and then almost nothing happens (if not for relationship drama) until the very end. For most of the book, the main character isn’t even trying to investigate what is happening. The ending was interesting, but again, after such a long build-up, it was definitely too short.
The only thing I liked was how this book challenged the idea that we need to support abusive, toxic men just because they make great art. Leopold, the director, is a predator, and I liked how the story dealt with him – mostly.
It’s one thing to know what he’d done, and another to try to get people to believe. So many would find a way to ignore it. To put it in a little compartment in their minds and say, yes, he was a monster, but he made such beautiful things.
My only problem with all of this is that the story was written around the predator. He was in most scenes, he was the only character who actually had a characterization, and for most of the story he had all the power, right until the ending (which was very short). That’s not something I like to read. I love how Wild Beauty approached a similar situation, instead.
All the other characters were bland and forgettable. There’s not much to Zara besides her love for the theater and for Eli, who is so flat she’s not a character at all. She’s just there, and their relationship had some cute moments, but nothing more.
The writing wasn’t terrible; what I disliked the most was the combination of person and tense – third person present is usually a bad idea. It tires me quickly and it makes everything feel so distant.
If it hadn’t been for the f/f relationship, this would have been a dnf. I always want to give a chance to f/f books until the end. Even when they have nice, quotable sentences like this one:
No way was she spending a season with the Italians and their stunning lack of deodorant.
If you’re wondering: no, it’s not contradicted in text, and yes, that characters is kind of insufferable but did you need to have this in your book? Like… can you not?
And then the book coded the villainous character as aromantic. Great. No, I don’t think it was intentional, but it would have been so easy not to do it.
My rating: ★★¼