HarperTorch, $6.50, ISBN 0-380-81978-3
Contemporary Romance, 2001
Great, now I have the band Queen’s catchy song Crazy Little Thing Called Love stuck in my head. Cindi Louis’s debut effort, Crazy Thing Called Love, has been warmly received and lauded for its comedy, so much so that I actually read this book two times just to make sure I’m not whacked or anything. And I still wonder if this story has a plot.
By plot, I mean a clear idea of where the story is heading. The author seems more concerned in getting the main characters from Point A to Point B and then Point C instead of focusing on a clear direction. A result of the linear plotting is really inconsistent plot developments that jar me out of the story. And why is the heroine Jayda Tillman such a bitch most of the time?
The story is about Jayda, called the Hanging Judge on the account of her harsh judgements and stance on law, being attracted to attorney Jason McNeal who loves upstairs and who keeps bugging her at court. Jayda’s a bitchy one because her ex not only dumped her after cheating on her, he put up a website announcing to everybody that she is lousy in bed. That’s for the romance part. The rest of the story deals with Jason’s superficially-treated baggage about representing shady criminals (hey, if he knows they are bad, why even take them up?) and Jayda’s issues with men. Why is it that when a woman is strict and tough on her issues, it’s usually because she has issues – there is something inherently “wrong” with her? I don’t get it. And Jayda doesn’t want Jason because she doesn’t want people to talk about her anymore. I understand this part, but I don’t like how she and Jason will refuse to believe in her ex’s insinuations that she is bad in bed when it is convenient (when the plot demands it) but revert back to believing them (even when they both know he is a scum) when the plot again demands it (when the author needs a conflict so that the story doesn’t end so soon)?
Put in a suspense angle that is obviously linearly plotted, and this book really loses me. Jayda’s trials and terrors are out of a Looney Tunes show, in which her ordeals are clearly done in a Point A to B to C style. No strategy, just ordeals thrown helter-skelter so that Jayda will run into Jason’s arms.
On the bright side, when Jayda is not being an uber bitch, she and Jason actually have chemistry. The secondary characters interact most wonderfully with the main characters – dialogue is this book’s strongest point. Crazy Thing Called Love is almost funny – I say almost because I am too busy groaning about the author’s incohesive plot and inconsistent characters to actually laugh. Sure, I may look out for Cindi Louis’s future books, but at the same time, this is one really rough, unpolished debut. Still, there’s probably nowhere this author can go from here but up, right?
Note: we learned after the publication of this book that large chunks of this book were plagiarized from Linda Turner’s The Proposal. Oops!
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