Storm Warning
by Dinah McCall, contemporary (2001)
MIRA, $6.50, ISBN 1-55166-808-4

Bee-poo, bee-poo! Watch out people - bad book warning! Okay, that's a bad pun on Storm Warning, but really, I scratch my head at the story - plot, characters, and all. It doesn't make sense. Maybe I'm old, but if you ask me, there's nothing buying an answering machine or heck, disconnecting the phone altogether can't fix.

The story is like this: Ginny Shapiro was a test subject when she was a child for some hypnosis mumbo-jumbo thing. Now, the girls that were subjects are committing suicide one by one, and soon it's Gilly who is left. Gilly's friend calls an FBI agent onto the case but the woman ends up killing herself too. Now agent Sullivan Dean has to protect Gilly.

Apparently these women get phone calls that compel them to kill themselves. Oh, what to do, what to do.

I don't know. Hmm... get an answering machine and has someone else check the messages daily? How about using email instead of the phone? There's absolutely no reason to panic like the nitwit Ginny in this story. I don't know if it is a testament to Ms McCall's skill or a misfire that she writes Ginny's hysteria so well that I feel like screaming myself. Screaming that someone shoot Gilly with tranquilizer darts now or I will personally go after her with what vets use to put poor doggies with terminal diseases down.

Sully and Gilly fall in love so fast that it is more a case of the huh? than one of awwww. Gilly may be a passive and overly emotional mess, but Sullivan is an okay hero with all the right protective instincts. Kudos to Sully for braving it out to the last page. Next time, get a better story.

If the romance seems forced and seems due to forced proximity rather than natural chemistry, things can be saved if the suspense part is credible. After all, this book isn't called Romantic Suspense for nothing. Right? I won't go into the detailed nitpickings of every unrealistic detail about hypnosis, medical treatments, or even FBI procedures, but any armchair The X-Files fan would scream bloody at the silly attempts the author goes to carry her story. There is no sturdy basis in science or medicine to make this story work. (Okay, maybe it's just my science background making me nitpicky, I admit that here.) And the book's final tying up of loose ends to a nutcase shrink - let's just say it is lucky I don't pop a blood vessel in my head.

As a romance, this book fails. As a scientific thriller - hahahahahaha. Ahem. I can't help thinking that the author is way out of her depths when it comes to Storm Warning. I've always complained about romance novels never moving with progress, but SW rockets off the launchpad straight into the black hole of insipid rigmaroley nonsense. Not exactly my idea of moving with time, really.

Rating: 47

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