Double Down by Fern Michaels ~ Book Review (2015)

Double Down blurb~

For the first time the menfolk are stepping out of the pages of #1 New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels’ beloved Sisterhood series and into the spotlight…

After years of standing by their women, the Sisterhood’s significant others have also become loyal friends. And now Jack Emery, Nikki’s husband, has enlisted Ted, Joe, Jay, Bert, Dennis, and Abner to form a top-secret organization known as BOLO Consultants.

Jack has two missions in mind. The first: offering some behind-the-scenes help to Nikki’s law firm as they take on the all-powerful Andover Pharmaceuticals. Andover’s anti-leukemia drug causes terrible side effects in young patients, but a class-action suit seems doomed to fail. BOLO Consultants have a prescription to cure that. Meanwhile, Virginia’s lieutenant governor has a sideline as a slum landlord, and his impoverished tenants are suffering. Tyler Sandford believes his status puts him above the law. But when the Sisterhood and their allies decide to get involved, no one is beyond the reach of true justice…

*I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

Recently, I reviewed “Upside Down,” the first part of the Men of the Sisterhood series. You can buy each part (Upside Down, Countdown, and Takedown) separately or you can read it all it once as Double Down, which is the full novel.

Although I wasn’t impressed with “Upside Down,” I did enjoy reading the other two sections. As a complete novel, it’s actually pretty good. The problem is that there is a lot of backstory and build up in the first part. Once I started reading the second part, I was like, “Oh! This is sooooo much better!” The characters starting doing more. There is less exposition and dialogue.

I would say the best aspect of Double Down is the depth of character development. The story has a lot of characters, but none get lost in the shuffle. They are all fleshed out well. Also, the author excels at writing setting descriptions that allow the reader to easily visualize the locations.

Although I have seen this series listed as mystery (which I am doing too, for lack of a better classification), there is no mystery to figure out. It’s more about getting even with people who have wronged people. In this book, the offenders were slumlords and a pharmaceutical company. If you don’t like books about vigilantes or revenge, you probably wouldn’t like Double Down or any of the Sisterhood books.

It might not be a who-done-it, but the characters do a lot of investigating. So, it could still kind of fall into the mystery category, I guess.

I didn’t care for the way the men just walked away from the cases without knowing what happened to the people they were punishing. Not only does it leave a lot of unanswered questions for the reader (like did they die?), it also makes it harder to believe the overall assumption that the men can do all this stuff and get away with it. It was hard for me to swallow that they could accost a lieutenant governor and his wife without any kind of consequences. Even if they were dead (which we don’t know), someone, somewhere would have investigated their disappearance. CSIs would have found something to link the men to the abduction.

For the most part, I was able to put disbelief aside. I focused on the case, the crimes the perpetrators had committed, and the characters’ relationships.

I give Double Down four stars for an interesting premise, well-developed characters, and vivid descriptions.

Unless you are familiar with the Sisterhood series, you might feel a little disconnected from the characters at first. Although the Men of the Sisterhood is a spin-off series, the same characters are in both. The first book in the Sisterhood series is: Weekend Warriors.

*I received a free copy from Zebra via Netgalley, but read the hardcover version.

Fern Michaels isn’t a person. I’m not sure she’s an entity either since an entity is something with separate existence. Fern Michaels® is what I DO. Me, Mary Ruth Kuczkir. Growing up in Hastings, Pennsylvania, I was called Ruth. I became Mary when I entered the business world where first names were the order of the day. To this day, family and friends call me Dink, a name my father gave me when I was born because according to him I was ‘a dinky little thing’ weighing in at four and a half pounds. However, I answer to Fern since people are more comfortable with a name they can pronounce.

As they say, the past is prologue. I grew up, got a job, got married, had five kids. When my youngest went off to Kindergarten, my husband told me to get off my ass and get a job. Those were his exact words. I didn’t know how to do anything except be a wife and mother. I was also a voracious reader having cut my teeth on The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Cherry Ames and the like. The library was a magical place for me. It still is to this day. Rather than face the outside world with no skills, I decided to write a book. For some reason that didn’t intimidate me. As my husband said at the time, stupid is as stupid does. Guess what, I don’t have that husband any more. Guess what else! I wrote 99 books, most of them New York Times Best Sellers.

Moving right along here . . . Several years ago I left Ballantine Books, parted company with my agent, sold my house in New Jersey that I had lived in all my married life and in 1993 moved to South Carolina. I figured if I was going to go through trauma let it be all at one time. It was a breeze. The kids were all on their own at that point. The dump was a 300 year old plantation house that is listed in the National Registry that I remodeled. Today it is beyond belief as are the gardens and the equally old Angel Oaks that drip Spanish moss. Unfortunately, I could not get my ghost to relocate. This ghost has been documented by previous owners. Mary Margaret as we call her, is “a friendly”. She is also mischievous. It took me two weeks to figure out that she didn’t like my coffee cups. They would slide off the table or counter or else they’d break in the dishwasher. I bought red checkered ones. All are intact as of this writing. She moves pillows from one room to the other and she stops all the clocks in the house at 9:10 in the a.m. at least once a week. When the Azaleas are in bloom, and only then, I find blooms on my night stand. I have this glorious front porch and during the warm months I see my swing moving early in the morning when the air is still and again late in the day. She doesn’t spook the dogs. I always know when she’s around because the five of them line up and look like they’re at a tennis match. As of this writing we’re co-habiting nicely.

Most writers love what they do and I’m no exception. I love it when I get a germ of an idea and get it down on paper. I love breathing life into my characters. I love writing about women who persevere and prevail because that’s what I had to do to get to this point in time. It’s another way of saying it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what matters is where you’re going and how you get there. The day I finally prevailed was the day I was inducted into the New Jersey Literary Hall of Fame. For me it was an awesome day and there are no words to describe it.
I’ve been telling stories and scribbling for 37 years. I hope I can continue for another 37 years. It wasn’t easy during some of those years. As I said, I had to persevere. My old Polish grandmother said something to me when I was little that I never forgot. She said when God is good to you, you have to give back. For a while I didn’t know how to do that. When I finally figured it out I set up The Fern Michaels® Foundation.


(bio from Goodreads)

Website • Goodreads