Psychologist Greg Chalmers is a human lie detector. He's very skilled at reading people. That is until he tragically missed the signs with one patient and then copes by spiraling down the rabbit hole of gambling addiction. He now works for the Tyler Group (series alert!) which is sort of a catch-all, PI, fix-it firm that I'm convinced only really exists in Romancelandia. Anyhoodle, he gets called in because a woman is found wandering down the side of a deserted New Jersey road, with no ID and covered in blood that isn't hers. Oh, and just for kicks - she's claiming she doesn't remember a thing. Not even her name. So Greg comes in to see if he can read her.
We all know where this is going, right? Jane Doe turns out to be Eliza "Liza" Dunning and Greg, with his white knight complex, is determined to help her. That gets tricking though when they find the dead body that supplied all the blood found on Liza's person. A dead body who just happens to run a casino in Atlantic City and has alleged ties to organized crime.
Before I go into Ranty McRant Pants Mode, let me mention that this story did have some good elements to it. The amnesia angle, always a tough sell, is handled well here. Liza's amnesia is the result of witnessing a traumatic event, presumably the murder and poof! She's a blank slate. She also regains her memory in bits, often times with no rhyme or reason. For example, she remembers the first boy she ever kissed before she remembers a coworker. This makes for a very interesting suspense thread, which is honestly the only reason I managed to finish this book. I had to find out who killed the casino boss!
So where did it all go wrong? Well, with everything else. I actively disliked everything else about this book, right down to our romantic couple. For those of you who watch The Mentalist (or have even seen part of one episode), Greg is like the Simon Baker character. That is to say smart, handsome and a total prick. If you don't think the Simon Baker character on the TV show is a self-congratulatory wind-bag, then you'll probably like Greg. I loathed him from the moment he falls from grace, right up until the bitter end when he morphs from prick to white knight who thinks he knows what's best for everybody.
Liza, sadly, does not pick up the slack. She pretty much spends the whole book bemoaning the fact that everybody wants to protect and shelter her. She's a big girl! She's a grown-up! She can take care of herself! When the truth is? No. No you can't cupcake. Because this is the second time she's lost her memory. Granted the other time was when she was a child and witnessed a horrific, life-altering event, but how can I not think of her as a victim when she's never allowed to stand up for herself, by herself. Greg is always there acting as a crutch. She can say she's not a victim all she wants - doesn't mean I have to believe her, which I didn't. Then I started wondering, what if she burns Greg's toast making morning-after breakfast? Will she lose her memory for a third time?!
Now some of you are probably reading this and thinking I'm being too hard on the characters. It's a Rescue Fantasy Wendy! It's a Heroine In Peril story Wendy! You're taking this way too seriously Wendy. And you know, what? I was ready to chalk this up as a C read, not for me, I don't like these people but you might sort of read. And then it happened. Yes, ladies and gents - I got to the sex scenes. Brace yourselves:
"Greg, please...I need you. Please!"
"I don't have a condom."
"I don't care. God, Greg. Now!"
Screw it. He plunged into her and groaned at how tight she was, almost resistant, but then she was there with him, surrounding him, taking all of him inside her, deep to his balls. He would pull out when he came.
That was what his lust-addled brain told him. He would pull out and the chances of her getting pregnant would be slim. For now they both needed this connection badly.
I JUST CAN'T EVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes, because Lord knows the connection you share with a woman who still hasn't regained her memory is much more important than putting a stop to these shenanigans. Because "pulling out" is such a reliable form for birth control! Because, you know, pregnancy is your only concern here. Never mind she could have a scorching case of herpes you moron.
But wait, it gets better. Greg fails to pull-out in time, because honestly, OF COURSE HE DOES!
She giggled against his chest. Giggled. Then she kissed his neck. "I had birth control pills in my purse. I might have missed a few days, but I've been taking them since. We should be OK."I JUST CAN'T EVEN WITH THESE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The only thing keeping me from chucking this book out a 10-story window into blinding traffic on the street below so it could get run over by a convoy of semi-trucks is the fact that I was reading this on my Kindle.
Blind, hot, rage. Angry. So very, very angry.
If you could get through those snippets without 1) losing your lunch or 2) wanting to beat your head against your desk until you lose consciousness, then maybe. Otherwise? I just can't even.
Final Grade = D-