Dangerous Curves
by Jacey Ford, contemporary (2004)
Berkley, $5.99, ISBN 0-425-19685-2

Jacey Ford is Beverly Brandt's pen name and Dangerous Curves is the first book in a new series for Berkley. All I can ask here is: is Ms Ford freaking serious? This isn't romantic suspense, this is the lost episode from Superfriends that is "lost" because they are too embarrassed to actually air it. Overly exaggerated superhuman characters who can do anything and everything kicking ass while a fifteen-year old girl takes on her kidnappers using moves she's learned from spy movies - if this is what you'd enjoy reading (or laughing hysterically at), this book is just your type.

Former supertalented FBI agent Roby Raine is not just an expert gun lady, she is also a computer whiz person who currently runs Partners In Crime with two future heroines of this author's trilogy. They are too noble to rob a bank, which explains why, despite them knowing how to do anything and everything, the business is not raking in the money like it should be. But there is light at the end of the tunnel as Roby's ex-boyfriend and former boss Calder Preston asks Roby to help him out in a mission to investigate some fishy going-ons in a car manufacturer. Ms Ford therefore has made Partners In Crime a failing business so that Roby has to help Calder in exchange for a much-needed cash infusion. I love it when authors play their cards so transparently. It's quite fortunate that this isn't Vegas and Ms Ford isn't playing poker or she'll really be in need of her own hero to bail her out of trouble.

This mission is actually just a cover for Calder to talk to Roby and try to make amends for that time when he chose to abandon her to cover his sorry ass and save his career. Oops, I think I performed an eyeroll at that one. But these two dimwits are nonetheless dragged into a rescue mission to save a fifteen-year old model who is kidnapped while Raine is framed as a pedophile killer. I am not making this up. But the real fun begins when the model in question starts kicking butt using the techniques she learns from "spy movies" (MacGyver?) while Roby and Calder start performing superhuman stunts that will make even Superman consider an early retirement.

Raine and Calder are unbelievable. They don't need stunt doubles. They shoot well, they can do anything, they can probably fly if given a chance, and they are also drop dead beautiful in the process. The problem with this scenario is that these two are also completely without a functional brain cell especially when it comes to separating their personal lives from the professional. Utterly tedious psychobabbles and campy superhero antics don't go together well at all. As for the fifteen-year old MacGyver's daughter trapped in the trunk of a SUV that is on its way to Venezuela - yes, an SUV - that one is pure comedy gold. The thing is, I'm pretty sure that Ms Ford isn't writing a comedy. No, she is writing a serious romantic suspense.

I guess this is what happens when an author tries to tackle a subgenre that she is ill-prepared to handle: an unintentional comedy that makes me want to simultaneously cringe and snicker at the train wreck that results.

Rating: 49

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