Wednesday, October 17, 2012

TBR Challenge 2012: Subtle, Like A Chainsaw

So that's why she looks so sad.....
The Book: The Missing Twin by Rita Herron

The Particulars:  Romantic suspense, Harlequin Intrigue, 2011, Part of Series, Out of Print, Available Digitally

Why Was It In Wendy's TBR?:  As is the case with all random category romances in my TBR, I picked this one up at a conference - RWA 2011 in New York City (or as I like to call it, Wendy's Librarian Of The Year Year).

The Review:  Oh man, this was just....not good.

Caleb Walker works for Guardian Angel Investigations, which specializes in finding missing children.  He's part Native American, which in Romance Novel Land automatically means he has a "sixth sense."  He's also a Romance Novel Hero, which automatically means he was a wounded past and a dead wife he still mourns.

Yada yada yada.

Enter stage left, Madelyn Andrews whose five-year-old daughter, Sara, keeps having nightmares about her twin-sister, Cissy.  Cissy and her mommy are in danger from a "bad man."  The fly in the ointment?  Cissy didn't survive childbirth.  Now it turns out that the doctor who delivered Cissy and Sara was in on a baby-selling illegal adoption scam.  Could it be?  Could Cissy still be alive?  And is she really in danger?

Things get off on the wrong foot right away thanks to Sara who is straight out of Romance Novel Land Plot Moppet Central Casting.  Here's an example of what I waded through every time the kid appeared on page:
"You gots an Indian name?" Sara asked in a whisper.

Caleb nodded.  "Firewalker."

Sara's eyes widened.  "You walks on fire?  Does it hurt?"
So the kid is smart enough to know about Indian names, yet dippy enough to take them literally?

Seriously. Just. Shoot. Me. Now.

The rest of the dialogue is just as stilted and mind-numbing, and in no way aided by paranormal elements that have all the subtlety of a chainsaw.  My favorite was when Caleb's "abilities" come to light.  Madelyn and Caleb are at Cissy's "grave," waiting for the casket to be exhumed....
Caleb was there, kneeling with his hand on Cissy's grave.  His dark skin had drained of color, and an odd mixture of grief and pain marred his face....
Fast forward a page or so....
"What were you doing at Cissy's grave?"  Suspicion flared in her eyes.  "Do you have some kind of psychic ability that you didn't mention?  Is that why you believed Sara?  Could you see inside the grave?"
OK, seriously?!?!  Who makes that kind of leap right out of the gate?  Oh, the hunky Native American guy looks pale and he's touching a gravestone.  Ergo, HE MUST HAVE PSYCHIC ABILITIES!!!!!

Dude.  Here's a thought, maybe he just ate some bad Thai food for lunch and he's feeling nauseous.  Did you ever think of that? 

And while I'm at it, what self-respecting baby snatcher keeps the same name for the kid that the birth mother gave it?  What, did The Evil Doctor show up at their door and say, "Here's the baby you wanted to adopt and oh, by the way, her name is Cissy.  I just went ahead and took the liberty of naming the kid for you."

I would have slapped this book with an F except for two factors: 1) I've read worse and 2) I loved how the author handled The Condom Moment.  The couple is all ready to do the deed and the hero stops because he doesn't have a condom.  He tells the heroine that he wants "to do right" by her.  Thank you Lord!  No throwaway conversations of "I'm on the Pill" or "I'm clean baby, you can trust me.  Do I look like I have a scorching case of herpes?"  Oh, and in case you're curious?  They were at the heroine's house and SHE had some condoms.  A heroine!  With condoms!  OK, so her Mom bought them for her hoping she'd start dating again, but still!  A ROMANCE NOVEL HEROINE WHO HAS HER OWN CONDOMS!!!!

But honestly, that was it for me.  The Condom Moment.  The one bright shining light.....

Final Grade = D-


  1. Man, you determined. I DNF'd mine and it was probably much better than this.

  2. Something is clearly wrong with me, but when I see "bright shining moment" and "condom" in the same paragraph, I immediately think of Skin Deep.

  3. Had to laugh at your silver lining. Also - thank you for calling out the "I'm on the Pill" excuse! Every time I see that, I find myself muttering, "does..not..prevent..disease..."

  4. Ouch! Sorry this one bombed but you sure know how to write fun reviews for the not so good books. ;)

  5. Well yay, there was something about this book that could bring up the grade. But ouch, brutal read. It's just too bad that it was too many tropes thrown together that didn't really work together.

    And yay, I did not pick this one up at the RWA. Jeez, can't believe it's already been a year since your year!

  6. LOL OMG Wendy you had me cracking up - my boss thought I was crazy and all I was doing was looking at my phone! :) I loved your review so much that I had to run down and share it with my book lover co-worker.

    Why IS it that Native American translates to psychic? I love the thai food comment - perfect!

  7. Wenday, Wendy... that's a pretty slim silver lining there. You finished it? That's pretty good. Native American = Psychic. Where did that assumption come from? Eye roll, eye roll...

  8. I will DNF books, but admittedly I have a hard time doing so within certain category romance lines. I kept reading this one for two reasons 1) It's an Intrigue, so only a little bit over 200 pages and 2) I waited until the last minute to read something for the challenge and didn't have time to dig out another book :P

    I've read another book by this author, in this series, and it was OK. So really NOT liking this one was a bit of a surprise.....


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