Killer Charms
by Marianne Stillings, contemporary (2008)
Avon, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-06-085074-6

The best thing about this book is the cover. It's sexy and eye-catching. I wish I can say the same about the story.

Andie Darling is a cop who is looking for her big break, and going undercover to nab the con man Logan Sinclair may be it. Logan is this guy who charms his way into his female clients' purse by claiming to be a medium that can speak to dead people. However, these two will soon be plunged into a plot involving ghosts and missing necklaces.

Andie wants to join Homicide, but I wonder how this woman graduated from training. As an undercover cop, she gets played and read by Logan so easily that my impression of her never recovers as a result. Andie is too emotional, too impetuous, and even too blind to the obvious at times. The author also forces Andie into a position of weakness where she has to continue a charade that she comes off as way out of her depths in, one that Logan has long seen through without her suspecting much. As for Logan, my first impression of him is that he is a smarmy gigolo. I'd probably respect him more if the author hasn't tried to tell me how he has to do what he does and that he's actually a good guy at heart. Please. Just admit that he's a gigolo and a user and spare me the sob stories. It also doesn't help that he loves using his Scottish brogue in a manner that I find irritating, both as terms of endearment and bait to trap his unsuspecting female clients. I'm still not sure where Andie stands in his book or how he comes to view her as someone special rather than just another notch in his belt. She's not smarter than his usual victims, that's for sure.

Killer Charms therefore is a story that hits on my two pet peeves: a heroine who is always in a weaker position compared to the hero and how this advantage causes the hero to come off as even more smarmy than he otherwise would be. No amount of humor in the one-liners could mask the fact that this story is really not my cup of tea. The cover is really nice, though, for what that is worth.

Rating: 60

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