Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Don't Look Down by Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer ****

I think this might be my first collaboratively-authored book ever, and it's an interesting concept. Crusie wrote the female POV/romance sections and Mayer, a former Green Beret with a passel of best-selling thrillers under his belt wrote the guy stuff. You know, the Glocks and Special Ops stuff. Together they've written 2 books, this being the first, in what I guess is romantic suspense genre.

Truly, I enjoyed quite a lot of it - although there were plenty of times I was confused and felt the writing and the story went off track. Way off track. Like, they needed a GPS, a laptop and night goggles to get back. And frankly, I had a real hard time buying the Relationship. First off, it was only 4 days - and excuse me, but Mr Hero was pretty busy boinking someone else on Day 1 so that was, well, off-putting. It had me thinking: and then he suddenly is in love with Ms Heroine? When did that develop?

The Heroine is Lucy Armstrong, a Wonder Woman lookalike - tall, long dark hair, great build. She's an ad director, formerly married to a stunt coordinator, Nash, who calls her in to direct the last 4 days of the movie he's working on, Don't Look Down. The movie's stars are Bryce and Althea - the movie's production assistant is Lucy's sister Daisy, who has a 5 year old daughter named Pepper who has a Wonder Woman fetish.

The Hero is J.T. Wilder, a Green Beret/Special Ops guy (not a SEAL) (sorry, all the different military stuff confused me, so I had to note that) who is hired by Bryce (movie star) to be his consultant/stunt double on the film after the original director dies and most of the crew including his current stunt double quit. J.T.'s backup singers include Rene LeFavre, a Cajun special ops buddy and a CIA guy whose name escapes me now. Crawford, I think.

The stunts being shot apparently make no sense whatsoever since the movie was supposed to be romantic comedy, with the lead actor an accountant, not military. But some Irish guy Finnegan has put some money into the film and wants the stunts added in and is promising a lot of money to make it happen. So everyone is doing whatever they can to make it happen, in spite of the odds against the stunts they have planned working. (Oh, and I figured out way early on what they were looking to do - I guess it wasn't supposed to be that big a secret, but it sure took J.T. a long time to figure it out. Hint: the bridge is over a RIVER with boats. Duh.)

There's a Russian mobster, a case of jade phalluses being sought for their ability to enhance male potency, $50 million dollars to be repaid, and some crazy shenanigans with the alphabet including CIA/FBI/ASPCA (Ok, I stole that from the book, it was kinda funny). J.T. is first going along for the consulting fee, then he's tapped by the CIA to be working on the inside, under cover, then... well, keep a notebook handy to keep track of who is what in this book, it's confusing. Real confusing - lots of names, lots of characters, and they can never decide whether to refer to them by the first or last name, so double the confusion. No, go ahead and triple it.

Here's some stuff that did not make sense: Finnegan is theoretically IRA, but apparently we are lead to believe his accent is fake. If the accent is fake, who was he? Just some idiot? And why did people look up at the night sky in the middle of the day? And someone needs to explain to me again about Daisy and the medicine she was taking, because really, it did not make any sense at all - it seemed it was there only to be available for the final scene. And now that I'm done - who were the bad guys?? Cuz there was so much mis- and re-direction at the end that I don't think even the authors were sure. They never did make the connection with the Ghost - who hired him, who funded him, what was his angle?

And the most pressing question of all: does Moot the alligator qualify as Notable Pet? I'm thinking Not since she wasn't domesticated. But I'm tagging the post anyway, just in case.

Well, by the time I got to the end, I was feeling a 4-star finish, so even though a large part of the plot made absolutely no sense whatsoever - and hey, Mayer? Your hero did not have anywhere near the kind of self-control I've come to expect in military heroes in romance novels - I am going with 4 stars. Maybe 3.75, but I always round up.

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