No Ordinary Man
by Suzanne Simmons, contemporary (1998)
St Martin's Press, $5.99, ISBN 0-312-96495-1

Author Suzanne Simmons attempts to weave her own take on the whole Highland feud theme in No Ordinary Man but the end result is a very flat story that is too easily put down.

In the 19th century, two brothers quarreled and the Storms are divided ever since. One brother became a wealthy robber baron in America, while the other brother remained in Scotland and ran the fortunes to the ground. Today, Mitchell Storm, the descendent of the idiot brother, is trying to piece together what's left of the family fortune. He hopes that his finding a long-lost treasure of his clan will be the answer to his prayers. I could have told him that when he has to bank his hopes on tales of buried treasure, he'd be better off doing something more practical, like robbing banks. Anyway, he decides to summon his distant relative Victoria, the heiress and descendent of the smarter brother. Victoria and her companion Alice Fraser pack up and leave Rhode Island for Scotland. There, they find themselves stuck in Mitchell's home with a cast of potential villains and friends. Mitchell asks Victoria to pose as his fiancée so that they can throw off the villains that may be on to their treasure hunting plans.

The thing is, Mitchell and Victoria are technically likeable characters and their instantaneous attraction has a soulmate quality to it that may appeal to me were they better characters. As it is, the love story is perplexingly dry and cold because the author uses many one-sentenced paragraphs and conversational exchanges, giving me the impression that the story is merely going through the motions. Factor in villains that are sleazy and skanky as well as cartoonishly evil and No Ordinary Man could only wish to be half as extraordinary as it claims to be. While it may do very well for a quick and light read when there is nothing better available, it's still too unengaging and forgettable to leave any impact on me.

Rating: 54

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