by Ann Major, contemporary (2002)
MIRA, $6.50, ISBN 1-55166-956-0
What a beautiful cover. What a lovely title. Then I open page one and it's a downhill rollercoaster ride right into the lowest chasms of Bad Book Hell. If I have testicles, Ann Major have kicked me so hard, I'm now dancing the floating ballet while warbling in glass-shattering soprano about plagues, dying princesses, and near-death lepers.
The best way to describe this book is someone taking the DNA of Connie Mason and Cassie Edwards, combining both to produce a gruesome mutant that then proceeds to write its own version of West Side Story Littered With Illegal Pharmaceuticals. When I actually come across a sentence where the heroine seems to be ripping apart her own fingernails while chewing at her hair while the hero purrs in arousal, maybe this book is written by ghostwriters slaving in some non-English speaking third world country sweatshops. Or maybe the author is telegraphing in this story from Venezuela where the Morse code is done by someone whose only knowledge of English is "Me no speak Eeengleeesh!"
Because I have no idea how someone can write a book filled with strange sentences that have, I don't know, maybe some adverbs missing or something.
But the horrendous English is one thing. The plot, the plot, oh the plot! I have seen more coherent mess in a bad Wagnerian operatic parody. The story starts with our hero Roque Moya Blackstone humping the bike - hog, I think that's what it's called - he is riding at full speed because the bike is rumbling like "a fresh border whore" between his thighs and he's getting a chubby. I would actually pay good money to see our hero humping and grinding on a speeding bike like some deranged bottom in a gay porn movie, especially if the following scene is a spectacular conflagration as our bike-humping hero crashes into an oncoming oil truck.
But our hero crashes into the funeral of our heroine Ritz Keller Evans' husband, pushes her upstairs, paws her, and tells her she's marrying him because she's carrying his little Brizo. Roque and Ritz - tell me, am I trapped in Grease hell? - then reminisce about their past, when as a fourteen year old kid, Ritz tries to sneak a peek at Roque's grease lightning. I'm so not going to talk about prepubescent stoopids, so let's leave it at that.
What follows is a labyrinthine lurid-melodrama of skanky sex at the most tackiest of places and times, lots of hateful and angry sex, break-ups and make-up sex and break-ups again, and lots of bad, bad caricatures. Roque is an overheated erection who has the remarkable ability to make his every conversation a sexual harrassment case study. Ritz is a heaving quivering mass of puckering mammaries, heated exclamation marks, and sulky petulant tantrums. Most special is how Roque impregnates Ritz while he is still married to some senorita mama-prostituta, she gets pregnant and loses the baby when she does the I'm A Single Mother Martyr thing, and he has the temerity to blame her for the baby's death.
If anything, this very insulting and offensively stupid story will only fuel one's bigotry and urge one to take up an ugly crowbar and beat a few Mexicans back down to the south of the border, because Roque is really an offensive caricature of an overheated, foul-mannered, loathsome scum who uses his half-breed status as an excuse to behave like the primordial asshole from the most rank cesspits of the human gene pool. And if you think the last sentence is the worst run-on sentence ever, wait until you read the book. Then you have another thing coming.
How can a book this fetid can come with such a lovely cover and title, I will never know. If this isn't the equivalent of receiving a present only to find a dead rat inside, I don't know what is.
PS: The "I Have Balls Of Steel" Award goes to Nora Roberts, who actually puts a glowing recommendation on the front cover of the book. No offense to - oh, who am I kidding? The "I Have Balls of Kryptonite" Award - there, that's more like it.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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