Sweet Honesty
by Kayla Perrin, contemporary (1999)
Arabesque, $4.99, ISBN 1-58314-011-5

Can anyone tell me why this book is called Sweet Honesty? Honesty has nothing to do with the relationship between Samona Gray and robocop Derrick Lawson.

To say that Samona has bad taste in men is like saying that Ronald McDonald is only a little ugly. When other men take their women to jewelry stores, they buy their women engagement rings. Samona's boyfriend grabs her, puts a gun to her head, and shouts "Give me everything you've got!" instead. Talk about a lousy day. The robbery ends up with the shop propertier, a sweet old lady, killed and Samona a head injury. Worse, Samona is implicated as an accessory, loses her job as a schoolteacher, and has to move to another town to escape attention.

Meet Derrick, a cop on an undercover assignment to get close to Samona and find out where her ex (who died soon after the robbery) has hidden the booty. Samona is being wanted by other nasty lowlives who suspect that the thieving boyfriend may not be that dead after all. That doesn't stop Samona from falling for "Derrick Cunningham, sci-fi writer in the making".

Now, let me say that it's no wonder Samona gets tangled up with the wrong men - she laps up every lie Derrick says guilelessly. She suspects Derrick may be the one that sends her nasty letters (with good reason), only to dismiss it two sentences later because she sees the kindness in Derrick's eyes or some other rot. This woman is really naive to the point of being totally pathetic. Here is a woman who has been wronged by so badly by a man, and she doesn't hesitate to tangle up with another stranger. Never learn, do you, Samona?

And Derrick, nice, noble, honest, upright Derrick who lies to Samona without feeling any guilt. Tonk! Take that, you scumbag. Tonk! Hmm, never knew my rolling pin could dent so easily.

Derrick suspects Samona, no, is certain that Samona is (I quote) a murderess, even though it isn't her who pulled the trigger. He is definitely certain that she is the villian. Why? Beats me. Samona is too spineless and gullible to do anything. Tonk! That's for sleeping with a woman you sure is a suspect without telling her your identity, you idiot. Whamp! And that one is for telling her only after she has to go through your things to find out who you really are. Clunk! And that is for leaving your private documents in the open, you stupid dolt.

And may I say that Derrick isn't too intelligent? He wonders a lot, but he can't make any obvious conclusions to save his sorry hide.

Samona's sister gets horribly injured.

Derrick wonders if it's a random attack.

Samona's apartment gets ransacked.

Derrick wonders if it's a random thieving.

Samona gets nasty threats in letters and phonecalls.

Derrick wonders if Samona may not be guilty after all... for two seconds, before going Naaah! Wonder why this man insists on thinking Samona as guilty even when things indicate otherwise.

Bam! That's for being so obtuse, you sorry excuse for a man!

Rating: 20

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