I’m not usually the type to read (and enjoy) books about the lifestyles of the rich and the shameless, but the more and more I read the Private series the more and more I find myself willing to make an exception for Kate Brian’s series.
Inner Circle is my second Private novel, having read Suspicion (the eleventh in the series) first1 and one thing I have been impressed with is the recapping the events of previous books in the series. As someone reading out-of-order I’ve appreciated the summings up. But even as I read along it was clear that, as recaps were kept to a minimum – a little bit here, a sentence there – a regular reader of the series will not have to deal with a book padded out by rehashing the previous ones.
While Inner Circle and its fellows are not what I would typically pick up, main character Reed is what makes the whole thing so readable. In a world of less-than-pleasant characters, Reed comes across as a breath of fresh air. While she may not make the best of choices at times, and she has her blind spots, these faults serve to make a well-rounded character out of a girl who is intellectually intelligent and has a good heart that leads her to do what she believes is the right thing.
An unlikable protagonist can often bring down an interesting book, while Reed’s likability brings Inner Circle up. Inner Circle is a short book, and could have benefited from having a little more in it – some parts sort of lurch from one to another, or some parts could have been expanded to clarify a few things. The base plot of the book was good, but it needed just a little bit more to really come alive. In addition, at times Inner Circle felt a lot like a book made for setting up future stuff, rather than having a story of its own – despite it being a whole new year at Easton, and a fresh start for the characters, it felt more like a middle book in a trilogy (one that is trying to hurry along for the big finale in part three) rather than another book in a series.
While not really my sort of thing, Inner Circle was a fast, likable read that will most likely be enjoyed by readers who are more into the subject matter than me.