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Come to Harm
By Catriona McPherson
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
There's a big problem at the heart of Catriona McPherson's thriller Come to Harm, which is ironically that there's not much of a problem at all; an otherwise capably written novel, exactly the kind of serviceable but not great story you would expect from a typical small press, maddeningly there is only one question at the heart of this book that is trying to prop up 300 pages of storyline -- why are the residents of a tiny town in Scotland acting so strangely sometimes around the new Japanese college student that their chamber of commerce has sponsored for a year of study abroad? That's a great idea for an elevator pitch to get a book sold, but not enough of a mystery to sustain the entire book itself; and other than lovely little depictions of small-town Scottish life (the background the author comes from herself), there's really not much more here in this disappointing title, just endless pages that typically go, "Then our hero had dinner with the town's business leaders...where she noticed some of them acting a little out of the ordinary," essentially a dozen chapters of this until it's finally revealed why they're acting out of the ordinary to begin with. Even a supermarket genre novel needs to do better than this, and the fact that this one doesn't is why I can't in good conscience give this much of a recommendation, despite it being okay otherwise.
Out of 10: 6.8