TITLE: Hard Evidence
AUTHOR: Pamela Clare
STARTED: November 8, 2006
FINISHED: November 11, 2006
FIRST SENTENCE: Coffee was Tessa Novak's heroin.
SUMMARY: [From barnesandnoble.com] Investigative reporter Tessa Novak witnesses the murder of a teenage girl-and believes Julian Darcangelo committed the crime. But Julian is actually an undercover FBI agent on the trail of a human trafficker and killer. And now Tessa's report has brought them closer than either one of them could have imagined-and put both of their lives in danger.
REASON FOR READING: I like Pamela Clare's stuff, mainly her historicals, but I give her contemporaries a try.
THOUGHTS: What is it with me picking up cookie cutter romances as of late? I always remember Clare being adventurous in her plots and characters, this felt phoned in. The writing was flat and jerky, and I was getting annoyed at the characters "But, wait, I can't love him/her" attitude. That said, Clare does better with the cookie cutter stuff than most authors. Her plot and writing still had depth, but it lacked her normal flair.
Part of me really does not want to write a review because I was disappointed. Clare has never fallen flat, and this is flat for her. The plot, surrounding a sex trafficking ring, had SO much potential, but Clare stayed out of the gray areas that make books good. She even had Julian, her hero, saying such trite lines as, "I like to get the bad guys." And while she does have him "doing bad" to "do good," and gives him a dark history, it's not interesting enough to make him a compelling character. I refuse to believe that someone who was raised on the wrong side of the tracks in the back alleys of Mexico could just change over night. Puh-lease. After seeing his friends die, and girls being tortured, he should have been a haunted character. Instead, Julian just comes off as a high an mighty no-it-all.
Tessa is not just better. I'm tired of heroines who are supposedly smart but do incredibly stupid things. I don't care if you're an award-winning investigative reporter, you just don't go down dark alleys in gang territories dressed as a from a H&M catalog. That's just asking for trouble. Personally, when Tessa is kidnapped, I thought she deserved it. When someone says "Don't open that door for anyone but me," you don't then open the door for a personal of questionable allegiance. Trust the guy girl, trust the gut.
And then there was the chemistry, or lack there off. Past books by Clare have made me melt into a puddle of goo, or at least blush furiously. This one. Nope. There was a hot kiss in a closet and another in a staircase, but that was it. Everything else was your overly mushy "He loves me because he touches me just so" crap.
Throw in your stereotypical cast of girlfriends, traitors, bad guys, and hard-headed bosses, and you've got your pre-scripted romance novel.
Clare you're better than this. You still write better than many an author, but I was extremely "blahed."
MISCELLANEOUS: What is he doing to her lip?
RATING: 5/10 [I didn't particularly like it or dislike it; mixed review]
CR: Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
RN: Tender is the Knight by Jackie Ivie