Monday, September 21, 2009

Dallas Love-Boat Fail

Burn Burn by Linda Howard

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Well crap.

I enjoy most of Linda Howard's books. This isn't one of them. I read the first 50 pages, as Nancy Pearl recommends. I wasn't impressed. But I wanted to like Burn. I really wanted to! Death Angel wasn't great at the start but had a socko ending. Please, let this one be too, please?

Alas, it was simply not to be. Jenner is a good strong character. Then she turns into a wimp. Maybe seven years after winning the lottery everybody turns into a wimp. Whatta I know?

The beginning Jenner would either have given her capters the slip and burned down the boat or would see right through things and partner with Cael et. al. because it was the right thing to do. I presume so, since I couldn't finish the book.

And Holy Hoary-headed Grebe! What's up with Cael and his merry band of kidnapping-with-no-explanation let's-play-bondage pals? much in the romantic suspense area lately? Bodice-ripping "Rape Me" scenes or anything remotely related to them are sooo 1980s! Not that this was exactly bodice-ripping rape-me stuff. But the undercurrent was the same: Submit woman! Submit or unspeakable things will happen to you and your little friend! And the dog! And the neighbor's dog! Submit!

Or maybe Ms. Howard is revisiting the Glitz and Glamour romances that were hot in the 80s. Jackie Collins anyone? How about her sister, Joan? And maybe there is a chance that will come back while people are facing tough economic times right now. Who knows, maybe it's time to resurrect this subgenre from the dead, dead oil fields of Dallas and the withered vineyards of Falcon Crest.

And, yes, the television show Love Boat kept weaving itself into my consciousness while I tried to read this. Seriously, would the affable and not-stereotypically-named bartender, Isaac Washington have allowed this? Wouldn't Captain Stubing and the Doctor have figured out something was amiss? Couldn't Gopher have sunk the boat or something?

Yup, the whole thing smells of a 1980s rehash, using modern high-tech to somehow imagine it into this century. In fact, something about the previous book, Death Angel, also gives me that vibe.

I have confidence in Ms. Howard and, if she's playing with the genre this way, I can only encourage her even though I did not enjoy this book. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, for the author or the genre. So give it a shot. I hope next time is more successful.

Would I recommend this book to a man in a bear suit? Only if he mentioned loving Speed II, Love Boat, Dallas, and Falcon Crest

Would I recommend this book to an undercover superspy who liked fiction about electronic spy gadgets? I didn't get far, but it appeared to me that the gadgets that were going to be used weren't really emphasized, so I'd have to say no.

Would I recommend this book to someone who likes to read about current events? No.

Would I recommend this book to someone who is really curious about where the romance genre is headed? Yes. Ms. Howard is reviewing old ground and trying to bring it into the present. Give it a shot, Ms. H! I'll check in on your next book, too.

View all my reviews >>

No comments: