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Nice little read if you can suspend disbelief
on 9 July 2012
I read this as one of my book club's choices, as this is not something I would normally have picked up, however that is the very point of joining a book club! We initially chose it as a crime thriller which it is, to an extent, but I do agree with the reviews on here that it is probably just as comfortable in the romance section.
As a crime thriller it's an enjoyable enough romp: plenty of action and intrigue from the off with many a twist along the way. Every time you think we have reached the climax of the story, there is another blindsider to throw the reader off course. The key protagonist, Devlin, has an unspecified background in dark and dangerous goings on, which ups the ante of the journey. Throw in mistaken identities, a couple of psychopaths and the obligatory location changes which take us to the relatively unchallenging streets of Italy and the USA and you have a recipe for a good old fashioned 'how's it all going to work out?' style plot.
However, as the we get drawn deeper into the story and the threads continue to unravel, one can't help but begin to feel that this is all a bit TOO fantastical while at the same time, not really giving enough meat to its bones. To give an example: there are references to a character named only as 'Luce' peppered throughout the earlier chapters but even when he is brought into the main action, it is never clear who he is or what his motivation is. Similarly, other secondary characters such as Kaz's ex-husband do not really flesh out in any satisfying conclusion. The actual climax of the story, where we finally learn the truth behind the rollercoaster plot, had something of a 'Scooby Doo ending' feel to it. There is a rather unbelievable account of the reason for the masterplan, and the reader is left feeling that it was all wrapped up just a bit too neatly.
Moving on to the romance side of the novel, this is where I really struggled. Admittedly, I actively avoid most modern literature in this category, although I am not immune to a good love story within an over-arching plot. Unfortunately it felt as though the relationship between Devlin and Kaz detracted too much from the drive of the storyline. For a recently bereaved mother meeting a stranger who rakes up the most painful event of her life, she appeared to easily dismiss her grief in favour of fantasising about Devlin! Furthermore, the speed with which the two characters got it on eradicated any sexual tension that could have been mentioned, despite the author's avid attempts to create it. There is only so much one can take of 'Christ he was getting hard just thinking about it.' Yes, you fancy each other, we get it! Can we just get on with the story please?
It is fair to say that Devlin's character develops at a sound pace and we can clearly see how his character arc transforms. Kaz is slightly more ambiguous and other than physical attraction, is is not always apparent what the draw is for Devlin. Additionally, Kaz's response to some of Devlin's behaviour in their relationship is nothing short of masochistic. It's a kind of 'fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me' scenario. Again (and I don't think this will spoil the book for people) it all seems to wrap up a bit too neatly in the end.
Perhaps this is merely confirmation that this genre isn't for me - I like a bit more realism with my romantic heroes! - and as a poolside book for your holidays it would certainly spice up the sangria. For the grittier crime thriller fan, I would steer you back towards Ian Rankin!