Thursday, 25 August 2011

Book Review: Never Tempt Danger by Denise Robbins

Title: Never Tempt Danger
Author: Denise Robbins
Number of pages: 280 pages
Release Date: 12 September 2010
Publisher: L&L Dreamspell
Source: paperback provided by author for review
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Kindle store, Book Depository

Grade: 2.5 stars

Novellus malus!

Goodreads appetizer: Maureen thought her special gift was a curse. Maybe she's right.

As the one man who accepted her "gift" slid the diamond ring onto her shaky finger, Maureen saw his death flash in her mind an instant before the bullet struck. With blood on her hands and a government research project in the balance, Maureen-Gilly-Gillman does the only smart thing she can. She disappears. If there was one thing Maureen had learned, it was Never Tempt Danger.

Special agent Lucas Danger knows Maureen Gillman better than any other man. Assigned to find Gilly and her military robot prototype, Lucas discovers that his past has caught up with him. When the woman he loves collides with his secretive past, Lucas has to open his mind as well as his heart to save Maureen.

Who will get to her first?

This review was originally posted on Book Lovers Inc.

My Thoughts: Reading the above blurb I was excited and curious to read Never Tempt Danger as it sounded the perfect romantic suspence novel with the combination of a tough, kickass heroine, a determined and loyal hero and lots of breakneck action and frisson. Unfortunately, the mix didn't live up to what I was hoping for.

The novel started off with a heart-stopping scene which instantly raised my pulse and expectations: Maureen Gillman (alias Gilly) is having dinner with her boyfriend, who just seconds after he pops the question and proposes to her gets shot and dies. Gilly is of course grieving and in shock but gets through the motions and goes on the run because she knows those who gunned her quasi-fiancé are on the lookout for her too.

Gilly was a heroine full of contradictions: she is just like Lucas a trained special agent with a similar background and experience, yet she keeps making such rookie mistakes that even a completely ordinary action-movie fan civil would avoid: when hitmen are after her she goes back to her place to take a shower, then drives to her grandpa, the only family she has. Even if we forget that she is a trained special agent, would you drive the hitmen to your old and vulnerable grandpa? And these were just a few of her mistakes which could have been fatal and made me shake my head in utter bewilderment as they didn't match the character of a professional and trained special agent. Then at times she reacted as a typical woman, which once again I took offense with only because with her training she should have behaved dfifferently than an ordinary woman (not be squeamish to blood, etc.). Her train of thought and how she handled the run, chase, hiding didn't match the profile of a serious professional. Besides these serious problems with her characterisation Gilly was a nice heroine, but unfortunately I couldn't get past these blatant mistakes. If she were just a nanotechnician or scientist I could have foriven her for these blunders but with her training and working as a special agent? Sorry, no.

Lucas was a delight. He is a warmhearted, driven, passionate and loyal man. He has been in love with Gilly for years and hasn't been able to get over her after they broke up. His strong presence and support didn't only give strength to Gilly but gave spine to the story as well. Their re-blossoming romance was the highlight of the novel.

There are several subplots at play in Never Tempt Danger: besides the romantic storyline of Gilly and Lucas finding their way back to each other, there is the danger of the mysterious hitmen and the cat and mouse chase, then there is a paranormal subplot as well about Gilly's "special gift". Unfortunately this latter one wasn't developed at all, so the reader is left without any answer as to how or why Gilly is able to do what she can (and how she/they will deal with it).

The action part of the novel was fast paced and the chase was thrilling, a real pity that the conclusion to the whole suspense storyline was a big letdown as it was rushed, unjustified and not developed at all.

Verdict: Denise Robbins had interesting ideas and her writing shows promise, but sadly too much remained undeveloped and I couldn't overlook the great characterisation problems in Gilly's character.

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 6/10
Ending: 5/10
Writing: 7/10
Cover: 4/10

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