Out Of Control
by Shannon McKenna, contemporary (2005)
Brava, $14.00, ISBN 0-7582-0562-7

Reading Out Of Control has me wondering whether Shannon McKenna and Christine Feehan are the same person. Then again, with Christine Feehan coming out with ten thousand books every year, how does she find time to write as Shannon McKenna? A particularly caustic friend suggested that maybe they are both the same robots programmed to churn out "Me, hero; me, make love, you woman; you, woman, surrender, now; me, hero, me make love, wooooooh!" romance novels, but I'm trying to grow gracefully into my role as a heartwarming, inspirational granny doyenne to future generations so you didn't hear that from me.

There is a charm to this overblown and over-the-top story, with many things falling into place very nicely, probably by design or by luck. For example, our superstud superhero with a superdong, Davy McCloud, falls in love with Margot "Me, woman... right?" Vetter in only a few days, but that makes sense in a twisted manner because these two characters are so exaggerated in their actions and reactions that I can't see them doing anything with moderation. Sure, there is some charm to be had as well from seeing Margot and Davy deliberately goading and taunting each other as their pointless foreplay before falling into bed, but that charm soon wears thin when Ms McKenna doesn't have any variation to her approach in this story. It's all taunting and pointless fighting that cause the characters to come off as terminally stupid characters who happen to have access to firearms and other things that can cause massive injury to the people around them. After a while, I wonder whether I should be encouraging these two in their rampant foolishness.

Margot is a tougher heroine than Ms McKenna's previous heroines but that's, unfortunately, "tougher" in the sense that she can act as loudly and foolishly as the hero. She's still in trouble so the world order in Romance Novel Land won't be threatened anytime soon. Running from someone called the Snakeman who is, of course, stalking her and being obsessed with her luscious body, she lives under an assumed name to hide from this Snakeman who has so far killed two people including her cheating boyfriend that the Snakeman believes have hurt her. Also, she is on the run from some evil people who suspect her of being involved in some Very Big Conspiracy and they too want her dead. People in romance novels always assume that the usually inept heroine can destroy the world. I wonder why. The only way heroines like Margot can destroy the world is when they are stuck in a nuclear power control station and someone pasted a "Press this button to save a kitten" label over the "Do not press" red button.

Our hero Davy lives next door to Margot. He lusts after her. He wants her. He spies on her from his window. He trails after her and watches her every move. He hates her for making him feel like this! But no, he's not like Snakeman because he knows karate and all kinds of hi-ya in and out of bed! And he spends the whole story mocking, intimidating, berating, and degrading her so he is not like some horrible villain like Snakeman who goes out of his way to kill anyone that he feels has offended his precious Margot's feelings! Davy saves Margot, you see, and Davy makes Margot go AI-AI-PAPI in bed and Davy... um... uh...

Ms McKenna, I think I've lost sight on your grand vision of Why Davy Is Like, Wow, So Hot And All That quite a bit. Maybe I'll just let you take over from here.

Campy, over-the-top, lurid, but unfortunately so monotonous in the main characters' "Hate! Sex! Hate! Sex!" antics, this book is what happens when an author doesn't seem to be aware of the ridiculousness of her story. Embrace the cheese, Ms McKenna, dive in it, smell it, taste it, and live it. Cheese - especially $14.00 cheese - is always easier to go down when the author doesn't give the reader this impression that she sets out to write the next great novel and the campy elements of the story are actually unintentional misfires on her part. Let me in on the joke and I'll laugh along. Maybe next time, perhaps?

Rating: 56

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