Tuesday, February 19, 2008

But We Can Still Be Friends

I'm still working on my homework reading for my upcoming turn as romance fiction panel moderator in April. But after slogging through 100 pages of the RITA-nominated No More Lies by Susan Squires, I'm calling it quits. Nothing personal to Squires. I've read and enjoyed her work in the past. This particular book just wasn't working for me. Not because it's "bad," but because the plot just wasn't doing a whole lot for me.

Dr. Holland Banks is a preeminent psychiatrist living in Los Angeles. Her ground-breaking work with schizophrenics has brought her acclaim, recognition, and naturally a deep understanding of the disease. So when she starts hearing voices she fears for her sanity. Couple that with her father's unethical DNA studies, a sniper picking off people in L.A. and a guy in a flannel shirt stalking her - well it's easy to see why she feels crazy.

I think my main issue here was the set-up. It takes forever (or maybe it just seems like forever) for this story to go anywhere. And even at page 100, I feel like I'm still waiting for something to "happen." We don't learn until page 50 that the stalker is our hero, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times who also is hearing voices. By page 100 he's a patient in Holly's hospital and she's discovered that when they touch, the voices in their heads are silenced. It also doesn't help that the first 100 pages are filled with "science-talk." It's not incredibly involved, but I'm a science idiot. Start talking science and my eyes roll back in my head. I guess it was necessary to set-up the back story and plot - but I found it dull. And boring. And I was getting impatient for the plot to show up already.

Plus, being really burnt out on paranormal-anything these days - the author really has to grip me in the opening pages to invest me. That's not the author's fault, it's merely a product of the paranormal tidal wave that has engulfed Romancelandia for the last several years.

So Final Grade = DNF. I think this is probably a good book that other readers will enjoy. Me? It was like trying to eat plain broccoli without any veggie dip or cheese sauce. I'd slog on through, but I've got a lot of homework reading to cover before April 5, and Squire's vampire novels have worked for me in the past. I'm thinking I need to stick with the vampires.

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