The Taylor Jackson series (books 1-7) by JT Ellison
Oh Taylor Jackson. How I loathe you. And yet, I’ve read all SEVEN of the appallingly cliche novels penned by JT Ellison, and starring your implausible ass.
Why on earth did I read all seven? Pace-wise the novels move along well. Just like I can chug a 6-er of Mountain Dew in a few hours, I can down one of these Taylor Jackson novels, in kind (equal amounts of post-imbibement vomit attributable to both). There was also a bit of the can’t-peel-your-eyes-away-from-a-train-wreck element. I read on just to see if the writing could possibly get worse. I mean, these are novels published by a real, big-time publishing firm, and somehow Ellison gets away with page after page of lazy, uninspired prose:
“They were like vinegar and baking soda, a child’s science project. Mix the ingredients, put them together and boom, a volcano”–p 85, Where All the Dead Lie by JT Ellison
First of all, I don’t want any sort of sex scene to be prefaced by comparisons to “a child’s science project”. This is wrong on so many pedobear levels. Second of all, this sentence from *A PUBLISHED, BEST-SELLING NOVEL* could have featured prominently in this list of 25 Funniest English Essay Analogies.
I mean, doesn’t it almost seem as if Ms Ellison was running up against a deadline and needed a quick ‘place-holder’ metaphor so she could power on through to whatever number page count quota she needed to meet that day, only to forget to replace it with an actual grown-up metaphor in final edits? Or maybe I’m being generous in thinking the book was edited at all. My other favorite example of Ellison’s illustrious use of Amurican:
“People flowed in and out of the building, officers in uniform and plainclothes detectives, random strangers looking for the courts, black and white and yellow and brown, all mingling together into one stew of justice. The diversity of Nashville was never better represented than in this one spot…”–p 139, The Immortals by JT Ellison
WHO WRITES LIKE THIS??? If you didn’t lose your shit at ‘stew of justice’, you should have at least been a little alarmed when you realized via context (namely “The diversity of Nashville…”) that the “black and white and yellow and brown” did not refer to suit color, but rather skin color. I thought we stopped the whole yellow Orientals, black Negros, and brown Injuns thing back in the fifties. I mean, I *get* what Ellison was trying to do but she can take her weird, racially-charged Justice Stew elsewhere.
There are hundreds of these. So many, that I wish I had compiled a list as I read so I could make fun of each individually. And on top of the horrendous writing, the entire premise is SO TIRED. [[[[Warning: SPOILERS]]]]
I don’t even know where to begin. How about Taylor herself? Cuz she makes me gag. Taylor is six foot tall, perfectly toned, perfectly blonde, with a voice that is perfectly husky, and lips that are perfectly plump. She turns heads and she doesn’t know it (INSERT EYE ROLL). She is so effortless and feminine, her ponytail is always perfectly messy and casually pulled back, and you can just picture how perfect her perfectly perky tits must look in the black cashmere sweater she is always wearing (which is so often, I’m thinking it has some major pit sweat stank going on). Her only physical imperfection is that her eyes are…well they are a perfectly gorgeous grey, but one eye is slightly darker and greyer than the other. Are you barfing yet?
Cuz if you aren’t, I will go on. She’s tough, she’s young, she’s bright. She’s the youngest lieutenant on the force and the only female lieutenant in the field (all others are stereotypical, power-driven, bitchy administrators). She leads a Homicide Department with an 83% clearance rate. CUZ THAT’S REALISTIC! Her detectives are a hand-selected group of all male detectives, called the murder squad, who not only respect and value Taylor (she’s just one of the guys, after all), but don’t hold her quick promotions (sometimes she was promoted over them) against her. Oh, and she’s edgy! Leave a memo on her desk telling her she isn’t allowed to wear jeans, oh ho ho, she’ll just crumpled that note up and throw it away! How naughty! Plus, she’s the black sheep of her family. She gave up her debutante lifestyle as one of the richest families in Nashville to be a cop! Against the wishes of her parents! And to the surprise of her hoity-toity private high school/college! Oh, and her best friend is the Medical Examiner (yawn).
And her choices as a detective!! She’s had her throat slit, been shot in the temple, dated someone who turned out to be some sort of deranged dirty cop, who she had to shoot and kill. She’s been kidnapped, has had something like 6-7 on the job shootings, been stalked by a serial killer, and caught 5 or 6 others (internationally even). Oh my god. After a point it’s not even believable.
Oh, and she likes Fox News. Deplorable.
Then there is the usual detective novel cliche where she’s dating an FBI profiler, Baldwin, who is also an obnoxiously perfect physical specimen (and speaks 13 languages fluently and never knew true love until he met Taylor and who also always turns heads but never notices). Anyways, what annoys me most about this profiler…well, it’s almost as if all of Ellison’s “research” on profilers came from the show Criminal Minds. From the ‘triggering event’ to the ‘rapid escalation’ to frequently catching the killer while he/she is in possession of the latest missing person, her novels follow the same pattern and structure of the show. Plus John Baldwin is almost a tit-for-tat rip off of Criminal Minds head honcho, SSA Hotchner, in physicality, personality, and mannerisms (and if Baldwin runs his hands through his hair one more time, I will scream).
So just imagine my surprise when I discovered one of Ellison’s favorite shows is, omg, Criminal Minds. I’m shocked. Really. Look at my face:
Anyways. Between these two ridiculous characters and the weird out-of-left-field plot points that we the readers are supposed to swallow as fact (ie Baldwin’s secret CIA team that harnesses the psycosis of serial killers to hunt down and kill national and global security threats [srsly, what???], or the fact that Taylor’s family is richrichrich but that her dad is also some sort of connected criminal, or that Baldwin went from being fluent in Italian to fluent in 13 languages in the span of two novels, I could go on), I’m shocked that I finished all seven novels of this idiotic series. Clearly there was something about these books I enjoyed…but I’m hard pressed as to what that might actually be.