Monday, July 28, 2008

High Tide by Jude Deveraux

My Gawd this was a weird and terrible book! I think this was written under the influence of mind-altering substances and without the benefit of an editor reading it and saying, uh Jude, honey? Do you think maybe you should just START OVER and write something else??

Somehow, we are supposed to buy into the fantasy that this woman, Fiona, who develops toys, is sent on a business trip to Florida where she is going on a 3 day fishing trip with a client and a fishing guide. The client is someone she's never met. The fishing guide is the surly hunky hero. The fishing trip scenario for a female toy developer was quite a stretch.

Among the weird things that happen, most of which make absolutely no sense whatsoever and don't seem to have anything to do with the plot, the hero – Ace – buys a lifelike alligator that the heroine smashes with a bowling ball when she arrives at the airport, thinking the alligator has bitten Ace. Yeah. Right. That establishes their antagonistic relationship although, guess what, neither one knows they'll be on the fishing trip at this point.

Let's see – the client is a grabby womanizer who gets murdered and the body is left on top of Fiona. Why was he murdered and who did it? That's the crux of the matter. Ace and Fiona decide to avoid the cops – not sure why – and are tagged as the murderers. Go figure. (Note to self: when involved with a dead body, do not run.) They spend some time on the lam, but Ace manages to find homes for them to stay in, and even a luxury hotel where his family connections get Fiona a new wardrobe and lots of yummy food.

I'm still trying to wrap my tiny brain around the plot and it just won't go. It's something to do with her father, who she thought was some prince of a guy but turns out to have been a notorious underworld guy – maybe – or something. The father abandoned Fiona to boarding schools as a child – I think she believes her mother was dead – but he wrote her "stories" and sent her fantasy maps. Guess what – this is somehow related to the plot!

The client had created some god-awful children's TV show about a bunch of characters searching for lost treasure, and Fiona was supposed to help him develop a line of toys from it. Oh – it's the exact same stories as those her father sent her! Did he steal the stories from her father, or what?? Turns out the stories were loosely based on some truth – and somebody else will have to explain how Ace and Fiona ended up in a retirement community where everyone knew the truth about this lost treasure story. I couldn't figure out who was good and who was bad – mostly everyone was weird and… And Ace, engaged to someone else, and Fiona, with a steady beau, keep sorta almost doing it but never exactly making it there. Truly, I never felt their chemistry so when they do finally, several times, almost make it, I'm thinking – jeez, do it and get on with your lives, people.

Oh and Ace never lets on that he's a multi-millionaire (not sure how that figures into the plot except it's part of a series about his family, none of which I've read).

The "whodunit" part at the end was so bizarre that I just kept shaking my head. By the way, I did read part of this book under the influence of mind-altering substances myself, just to see if that helped. Not only did it not make any more sense, when I picked up the book to finish it (with quite a hangover) I had to backtrack about 10 pages because I had no memory of reading them. I should have just kept going, and indeed I did skim skim skim to see if anything good might pop up. It did not.

1 star. It's just too damn weird and hopefully Ms Deveraux got professional help before attempting another book under the influence (WUI – maybe it's not a crime but it should be). I really like some of her books, so I'm not completely put off (yet).


Heather's Fave Books said...

Okay I have to say that this was teh last Montgomery story that i actually enjoyed. I thought it was funny. Of course ti has been years since I read it so I may be remembering it wrong.

aunt rowena said...

well, Heather, to each her own - if you could make sense of this story, then here's a toast to you!! (I toasted it several times with a strong rum and coke, but it didn't help me!)