Monday, 5 May 2008

Hidden Agendas by Lora Leigh

First I need to say that this novel is almost beyond my abilities to review. And to read. There's an underlying plot throughout. A drug baron has sent an assassin to kill or kidnap the heroine, a senator's daughter. But there are just so many diversions on the way to the denouement. The heroine has to lose her virginity willingly. The hero has to remember his roots and his dead wife. Then there's a useless side plot about using condoms (for all of two seconds) and having a baby. The reader has to witness boring political partying. We get to find out all about previous boyfriends, Charlie Benson and Deuter. I just lost the will to live at many points. Even the hot scenes didn't interest me. Some of the plot twists were just so ridiculous.

For me the fundamental problem is the character of the heroine, Emily. (Not that the hero is any better...just that there is less about him in the story.) She's been rescued from a kidnapping in which a member of a SEAL team died, witnessed another girl being raped and then, not only conveniently forgets about her experiences, but lives a life of somewhat sordid thrill-seeking. It made no sense at all. She doesn't suffer nightmares about the kidnapping or guilt for the girl and guy that died. She constantly bickers about nothing with her senator Dad. And is basically superficial and lightweight. She's supposed to be a school-teacher but all the people she socialises with in the story have been provided for her by her Dad. What about her co-teachers and pupil parents? If she really wanted some cheap thrills (which she gets by learning lap-dancing) she could have done some voluntary work with homeless youngsters.

The story takes ages to get going. In fact the relationship part of the novel is weak. Emily likes Kell, Kell likes Emily. After a while they bump and grind. But boy does she lead him a merry dance which involves plenty of screaming and posturing before they do it. Something to do with an over-protective relationship with her doting Dad. Emily is 25 years old but she feels guilty having a hickey on her neck when she goes to meet her father. And yes. He cross-examines her about it. Yuk.

And in the end the story turns out to be very nasty indeed. That stupid Emily. Those girls were relying on her to tell their story. But she didn't. Poor Risa was institutionalised by the monster that caused her brutalisation. She did remember. So why didn't Emily? Nathan was tortured for 18 months. And all because Emily refused to remember. I couldn't forgive her for that.

I know Kira survives to feature as the heroine in the sequel. But a shot to the heart?! And she doesn't retire nor is she invalided out of the service. How is that possible? Nor does it affect her desire to be laid by Ian.

Basically the novel is pure inbred southern gothic screaming melodrama. Everythings a crisis. I also felt embarrassed on behalf of competent SEALs everywhere. That their name is used in junk like this. DOD should think about registering trademarks.

Conclusion. Basically. Inconsistent characterisation and plotting. Not very good. Which didn't really come as a surprise. But the series is short so I'll probably be buying a few more.

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