Jove, $6.99, ISBN 0-515-12902-X
Sci-fi Romantic Suspense, 2000
This story is set in planet Harmony, which may be the same Harmony as the setting of Sweet Starfire. It tells the story of para-archeologist Lydia Smith and ghost hunter Emmet London. Lydia is a psychic who can detect and disarm energy traps while Emmet controls stray energy traps – uh, whatever.
Excuse me while I dunk my head in the toilet bowl to clear the vague jargon peppered throughout After Dark to give it a “futuristic” air. Even with my high school Waves and Quantum Particles Physics notes, I still can’t decipher what the heck a “ghost” actually represents in this setting.
So let me re-translate the whole jargon. Lara-Croft-in-power-suit Lydia is hired by psychic-repressed-control-freak-millionaire Emmet to trace his precious old Earth artifact called the Cabinet of Curiosities (alert: this is a hint of the jargon overdose about to come in the subsequent pages). Lydia is broke so she agrees. She is expelled from the academia because she fell into – uh, okay, she screwed up in some physics experiment gone haywire.
Emmet also wants to search for his nephew (that’s an easy one), they find dead bodies right on time – the people always wait until the hero and heroine arrive before croaking a clue and then expiring off – and they even pretend to get married at one point! Isn’t that exciting?
Failed academia heroine, villain blabbing the whole plot away by the end, hero who is outcast because his psychic powers makes him “unpredictable, unstable, and volatile”, lots of jargon about waves and paraillusions and other yadda’s yadda’s yadda’s…
And After Dark doesn’t even have the decency to come with a pillow for me when I fell asleep at around Chapter 14. This novel is a patchwork of everything vintage the author has ever done under her 200 pseudonyms, all strung together with a very fine thread of readability. It’s not even entertaining. Maybe the Harmony Insomniacs Institute (they can call it the Para Sonambular Deficient Sad Bums Institute for all I know) can order this book for its inmates by the space shuttle-ful.