“Stalking Sapphire” is one of those novels that sound right up my alley: a blend of murder mystery/suspense, quirky humor, and romance. I liked the idea of a heroine effectively fighting against serial killers as well – the opening sounded promising enough considering she stands over a guy laughing and taunting him after having successfully tracked and baited him. But my interest in this novel wavered over several measures.
Sapphire and Aston (I kept spelling his name wrong in my updates on Goodreads, but it is with an “o” not an “e”) were pretty much the only two characters I truly got to know in the heart of this story. Even then, I didn’t really feel their purported chemistry. In the same way, there was an odd distance that kept me from enjoying this story more for a novel of its type. I think part of that was that the quirkiness was forced even when Sapphire was supposed to be playing the part of a dull-witted, typical rich girl. There were several contradictions and assumptions made in the whole “lifestyles of the rich and famous” that were showcased here. Another thing that bothered me was the racial stereotyping. I cringed in several parts of this book on behalf of that, what with the Asian lady who kept saying “Yes!” among other measures. I just felt like it was forced in its hand versus being a natural presentation.
The story revolves around Sapphire being a woman who catches serial killers, but ends up being stalked by one. When packages of body parts start showing up in Sapphire’s possession in public places, she has no choice but to turn to Aston, whom she had sex with at one point. I should note that there are parts of Sapphire and Aston that make them incredibly annoying (Sapphire’s a little too impulsive, and Aston can be a jerk sometimes), but I was able to follow them fine through the narrative. The mystery of whom is stalking Sapphire and why kept me reading. I knew it would be on the basis of a religious fanatic gone bananas, but I didn’t expect the villain to be who he was in the end, and that kept me reading, alongside hoping the victim of the serial killer’s actions would make it out okay. It’s an interesting read, though I’ll admit it didn’t pull me as much as I was hoping.
The ending’s an interesting cliffhanger, probably lending to a follow-up book of sorts, if for the nature of the relationship it potentially reveals. Overall I think it was a decent read, but there were aspects about it that bothered me or didn’t engage me as much as I would’ve liked, keeping me from enjoying it more.
Overall score: 2.5/5 stars
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Diversion Books.