Initially I was really intrigued by the concept of the Crusie/Mayer collaboration, having a man write the male character's POV and a woman the female POV seemed an inspired idea. However, I think Crusie and Mayer come from such different backgrounds that this really didn't gel well at all. Crusie is all about the heart and the dialogue, Mayer, in his own words, is all about the killing.
Mayer, an ex green beret himself, really excels at the detail given to Captain Wilder and I can see why his books are so popular, however, in a romance - as this was billed - there is a little too much focus on death and violence for my liking.
Lucy is the archetypal Crusie heroine, dealing with life's blows and rushing to help everyone in sight, with a healthy dose of snark mixed in. The relationship between Lucy and her sister is wonderfully written and Pepper is an enchanting young addition to the cast. Considering the novel takes place over a four day period things do move a tad too fast for me (but what's new in the romance world?) but the obligatory sex scenes do seem to lack any real depth or vigour (...er, excuse the word choice).
Finally, the external plot and common antagonist seemed rushed, confused and ... what the heck even was the plot in this novel? I've honestly only just put the book down and I couldn't explain it to you. Confusing, meandering and a little loose at the end I honestly just didn't get it.
It is clear that this is the first collaboration between Crusie and Mayer and that it was most definitely a work in progress and even something that was still being negotiated with publishers. Personally I think that the two voices are too distinct in this initial venture and that the transition between the two characters is jarring to say the least. You can also tell that Crusie crafted the majority of the padding of the novel so the Mayer/Wilder sections really do pop.
I am not entirely put off by the premise which definitely has promise and I will be giving Agnes and the Hitman a go. I'm also intrigued to read one of Mayer's novels which I do think I will enjoy. Overall, I was disappointed by the novel but I think that I was expecting it to reach the dizzying heights achieved by Crusie's pervious books.
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