‘Serenity Engulfed,’ by Craig A. Hart

I’ve been going through Craig A. Hart’s Serenity series, reviewing as I went. I’ve enjoyed them and told you so. What I didn’t mention so much was the books’ weaknesses, which (sadly) are very apparent in the fifth installment of the series, Serenity Engulfed.

Shelby Alexander, former Detroit boxer and semi-legal “fixer,” has moved back to his home town of Serenity in northern Michigan (lower peninsula). His hopes for a peaceful life have been disrupted by appeals from various neighbors to help out with problems requiring a tough pair of fists.

In Serenity Engulfed, Shelby’s daughter Leslie, with whom he has recently reconciled, is kidnapped. The kidnapper is an old enemy, recently released from prison. Meanwhile, a local prostitute asks for his protection from a man who’s been brutalizing her.

Serenity Engulfed, sadly, seems to testify to a failure of creativity on the author’s part. His prose has always been adequate at best, but it looks as if he’s now run out of plot ideas too. This book is all about dealing once again with enemies Shelby has fought before, and replaying plot situations we’ve been through before. And the ending was – in my view – entirely implausible.

I was disappointed with Serenity Engulfed, but I’m a forgiving type. I’ll probably read the next book, to see if the author gets his bearings again.

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