Once more into the breach dear friends, once more; or we will clog the walls with…dead women?
It’s been a while, but I’m back, and I’m continuing my Romance education. This time around I’ve delved into the wonderful, serial killer filled world of Romantic suspense. Now something I’ve never quite understood since the first time I watched Speed (“You can’t stop the bomb from being, MAN”; still love that quote....) is how you go from watching folks die to sexy time.
I mean, I get it on an intellectual level, you need a positive affirmation of life and next to a lamb pizza and fresh from the tap beer, I can’t think of a better affirmation. But it’s the practicality of it. I mean how is it that you go from burying your best friends to pants-less fun time? “You’re sweaty, I’m bleeding, let’s do this!”? I just don’t see it. Even my hero, John McClain, bleeding from glass shards embedded in his foot and beat to hell. Throws a man out of a window and all he wants to do is kiss his kind-of ex-wife?
I’ve learned though. As I continue to learn. It can work. And you can tie together the affirmation of life and the action. It’s not just “a little something for the ladies”. It can work, just remember, I’m new here.
So this time around I picked up Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard. The one thing that popped out to me instantly, but not my biggest hang-up about the book, is the villain. I’m a big villain guy. I don’t like my villian’s humanized, I don’t want them to have had a tramatic childhood or never gotten a hug from their parents. I want them mean, smart, sometimes seductive, and just plain bad. I want a villain that could be the guy next to you see in the hall, you know the guy. He says “hi” to you every morning, maybe brings doughnuts. Goes to happy hour, buys the occasional round. And then kidnaps women and wears their skin at night.
I don’t want a kid that was abused by his parents, or men who can’t sexually express himself unless he is brutally murdering someone. And dear god I don’t want them smelling like baby-powder and albino. The villain should be able to talk to women. He should be Hannibal Lecter, not Urkel.
Ok. I’m done with the villain. He wasn’t terribly important, his only purpose was to, I guess, galvanize the relationship, so no big. What it all boils down to is our Hero and Heroine, of course.
Our hero is Sam. An incredibly abrasive and kind of jerky cop who is on a special task-force with the local police department. He lives in his grandparent’s house which just happens to be next door to Jaine, our heroine. Sam just strikes me as your average action hero. Much like Wrath from Dark Lover, well minus the puzzzeling blindness and fangs, and, well, occasional dickishness.
I mean I liked this guy. Not quite as much as Rupert, but then there will always be your first, right? He wasn’t an ass all that much. He cared about the well being of his neighborhood. He was mindful of Jaine as an individual and got along great with cats. He’s all right in my book. Sure he was kind of a jerk in the beginning, but the guy is a cop. I understand it, and it was never to the point where you were sexual frustrating your doctor’s sister who had been completely devoted to you for most of your adult life…Ok so I have some hangups about Wrath, shoot me.
Then there was Jaine. Jaine just didn’t manage to wow me like Daphne or Savi. Though I didn’t walk away wanting to scream at her like I did Beth. For the most part she was just there. Driving the story along. She didn’t even have Sophie’s obscure movie references to endear her to me she just…was.
What I really like was how the relationship was built. Ms. Howard devoted a lot of time to how the relationship blossomed out of the events surroding the characters. There wasn’t even an instant attraction like in Dark Lover or Welcome to Temptation. In fact, Jaine thought the guy was an ass-hole up until he started acting nicer. Which is believable. I bought into their developing feelings. I even bought into once the body count started rising. I don’t think that I would have enjoyed this one nearly as much with out this aspect. And I definitely would have keep making Speed references.
All-in-all, not a bad read. Espicially for someone new to the sub-genre. The time devoted to the relationship really sells what I would think would be a major problem for all the murdering going on in the middle of a romance. No the main complaint I have, and I was warned, was all the geek bashing.
You guys warned me that it was a bit dated, and this book was written in the 90s. But geek/nerd bashing, while working for a software company, ain’t cool. I liked my history geek Daphne and my anime/tech nerd Savi. Just sayin’. Thankfully the folks here at Team H&H stepped in and reminded me that the world wasn’t always as welcoming, and I swallowed my oversensitive geek pride and soldiered on.
Any thoughts on where I want should go next? I was thinking a cross-over. Say a romance writer that writes either straight up Fantasy or Sci-Fi. I just finished one by Jean Johnson and am curious to know what else is out there. Or maybe another historical, like a western this time? You tell me.