Saturday, 26 January 2008

Cutting Loose by Tara Janzen

I read this book and thought to myself: "What a Wasted Opportunity." Basic problem for me. As always. Too many threads to the plot and while they all tie together nicely towards the end of the novel, they take too much time away from the main couple, Zach and Lily, who end up being bit players in their own story. Which is a shame really. Because as a reader I liked them both. Despite the fact that Zach has still-born hots for Skeeter and smouldering embers for Jewel. Lily didn't seem to notice. Which is surprising seeing how her ex cheated on her.

Up front. This is about recovering a macrame bracelet woven with the electronic key to a Very Important encrypted file on a hard-drive somewhere. Lily has the bracelet. Zach gets it from her. Simple as that. The big showdown scene was very well done. Tons of tension, excitement and near tragedy. But it was over and done with very quickly...too quickly really.

Essentially this is a road trip novel. And how interesting can such an animal be in today's age of GPS and cell-phones? I suppose that's what the author thought and that's why she put all those other subplots. Takes a lot of guts to include black ops in Pakistan and give serious mention to yellowcake! However I personally would have appreciated longer spent with the main couple, apart and together. On the road, in the car and on the bed. Just to show I'm not totally stupid I will ask; 'Ever heard of air travel? Like are there no flights from Albuquerque that could get to Denver in under six hours?' I don't know what some reviewers are complaining about. Out of the Steele Street crew, we only got to meet Dylan, Skeeter and Honey. Not enough as far as I'm concerned. More Kat and Superman for me please. I also note that the couples have stopped getting married since Crazy Love. Presumably they're all co-habiting. Which is a shame. Thank the lord no divorces though.

I'd like to say that this reader doesn't really want to know about the personal relationships of the baddies, not least because this particular author makes them too similar to the good-guys. Yes. That is a failing. In fact Zach makes a very strange speech to Lily in which he describes all the characteristics of an evil gun-for-hire. And I thought: "But Zach. That is exactly like you." I didn't like the fact that in his former incarnation Zach was a drug-exporter. But I have come across other authors who use this same trick. The idea is that the drugs which Zach supplied were always intercepted by the DEA way down the line. How long would Zach have lasted if that had really happened? Certainly not the 8 years he lived as Alejandro Campos. Somebody would have offed Zach long ago. That theme could have been explored a little more in the book.

Next up is Crazy Sweet. Gillian's story. Already I can see why some readers didn't like her. Basically she pimped herself out for a while. In her Red Dog mode. Vengeance is pointless when it involves loss of self-respect. So Tony Royce won twice over. Despite the fact that he's dead. Not that Gillian has the moral compass to feel any of that. After that. I'll give the Crazy Series and its shirt-tail cousin, the Loose series a rest. Not Enough Meat Mother. (Otherwise known as 'you have to wait ages for the rumpy-pumpy which doesn't show up until the final third of the book' syndrome. And feels more like hot sex than hot love.)

Finally. It's such a shame there is so little buzz about this series. Because the author is actually a supremely talented writer. When I read a series by one author I only expect one of the books to be great. The remainder so so. Crazy Cool was my utterly favorite. I could go on about Kat's vulnerability for hours... The first novel I read was Skeeter's story, Crazy Love. That turned me on to the author's style. I also totally loved the Skeeter part of Crazy Wild. So even though I criticize, I'm more than satisfied with my cash outlay. Crazy Cool will definitely accompany me to a desert isle, outer space or the slammer. Should such situations ever arise. I will absolutely demand to be buried with Cold As Ice and Crazy Cool together.

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