Book review: 'Foggy with a Chance of Murder' is a bit murky

By Penny Bowler

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 9 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

"FOGGY WITH A CHANCE OF MURDER," by G.G. Vandagriff, Deseret Book, $17.99, 273 (f)

"Foggy with a Chance of Murder,” G.G. Vandagriff’s latest novel, certainly has all the makings of a take-a-break-in-the-shade summer escape.

The novel’s spunky main character, Chloe Greene, is a red-haired, golden-eyed world traveler and author of popular suspense novels. In the midst of coming to terms with personal grief, family problems and a sense of disillusionment, Greene finds her world-weary feelings tugged between a man from her past and a man she meets under tragic circumstances. Greene and this grieving stranger become increasingly drawn to one another as they each search for hope, but she soon finds herself thrust into the midst of peril.

G.G. Vandagriff won a Whitney Award for her novel “The Last Waltz” and has proven she is capable of writing a well-crafted story with attention to detail. “Foggy with a Chance of Murder” could make readers wonder if its multitude of story lines can be successfully woven together. They all do come together, but a bit loosely. Insufficient development and lack of clarity put a definite damper on the nice, tidy want-to-believe-it ending one expects from a romantically suspenseful work of LDS fiction.

At one point in the novel, Greene expresses disappointment in herself for writing novels that are entertaining but avoid real feeling. Vandagriff has created a story that sets out to both entertain and explore serious issues.

Awkward word choices made it feel as if she was trying too hard during humorous moments and not hard enough during serious moments, which weakened the suspense and made some humor fall flat. The new man in Greene’s life describes her beauty as being very Botticelli-like. But another time he refers to her as an angry Yorkie (yes, the little yappy dog).

The main characters frustratingly put themselves and loved ones in danger, then get themselves out of danger in ways that stretch believability painfully thin.

"Foggy with a Chance of Murder" does contain interesting elements. Chloe Greene is a potentially entertaining and even endearing character with a chance of more successful adventures if she were to stop killing her credibility and associate with more relatable characters.

Penny Bowler has considered herself a writer since she discovered the power of words. Her family can attest to the fact that she is rarely at a loss for words.

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