The Trickster
by Kathleen Nance, paranormal (2000)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52382-5

I've thoroughly enjoyed Kathleen Nance's last book More Than Magic and hence have been waiting impatiently for this new one. This time around, out go the genies and in come Zeus, horny toad of a Greek God turned matchmaker and his meddling consort Hera to provide the paranormal angle. And like all not-human matchmaker stories, the matchmakers pitch the main characters overboard when it comes to being the true star of the story.

Once when Zeus turned one of his mistresses Io into a cow to avoid the jealous tantrums of wifey Hera, the result is a curse on Io's descendants. The children and further generations of poor Io will forever be unlucky in love.

Hence we have Joy Taylor, who is one of the above mentioned Unlucky In Love generation. Zeus is feeling quite remorseful at the damage his godly libido has wrecked, so he decides to fix Joy up with Mark Hennessy, a descendant of the god Hermes. Mark's a magician and a smooth talker, so he gets to perform some impressive magic on Joy.

But there's a glitch - Mark left Joy standing at her prom night and Joy isn't too keen to trust a smooth-talking no good SOB like Mark again. Mark wants Joy, Joy wants Mark, but she doesn't trust herself or Mark. Never fear, Papa Zeus is here. Not, of course, if Hera has her way.

Thing is, this romance, while amusing, boasts an excellent secondary cast that completely overshadows the two main characters. Zeus, Hera, Joy's family, Mark's friends and assistants, and even an ostrich are funny, amusing, witty, and zany. Not Joy who is unfortunately yet another one of those bland women synonymous with many "modern" heroines. The typical socially frustrated caregiver with no time for anything else. Mark is pretty interesting, but he's also unfortunately rather bland compared to Zeus and Gang.

So while The Trickster makes an enjoyable read, the romance itself is less than interesting. I have much more fun reading about Zeus and Hera trying to decide whether they want to choke each other or smack lips. Maybe these two should get a syndicated TV series, because playing second fiddle to boring main characters isn't doing them any justice.

Rating: 77

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