Along Came Trouble
by Sherryl Woods, contemporary (2002)
MIRA, $6.50, ISBN 1-55166-955-2

I have a very strange love affair with the TV show Smallville. It's about teenagers Clark Kent (Superman) and Lana Lang loving and kicking lousy monsters week in week out. The plot is horrible, the main cast apart from the delicious Michael Rosenbaum mostly can't act, and there is no continuity at all. But I'm hooked, because the moment Clark Kent learns in season one that his parents and loved ones may die and he gives a plaintive lament, "But I don't want to be alone!", I am hooked, because this show, bad acting and all, succeeds in making Clark Kent such a lonely romantic loser. (Although I still say his true love is Lex Luthor, not that robotic Lana Lang.)

Which brings me to Sherryl Woods' Along Came Trouble. It bores me, it annoys me, the heroine is horrible, but I kinda like the hero Tucker Spencer. He has always nursed a broken heart when his childhood sweetheart Mary Elizabeth upped and married Larry Chandler. Of course, Larry turns out to be the psycho husband from hell, and now he's dead and Lizzie here is the prime suspect. What does she do? Holler for a lawyer? No, she goes to Tucker's bed, strips half naked, and sleeps so that he can find her in her most delectable state. Die, Lana Lang, and die, Lizbot!

But Tucker just has to help her, even if everybody disapproves. And of course, Lizbot is the misunderstood dingbat who eventually wins back everybody by being hapless and stupid - and I do mean, stupid, mind you, really stupid. The "murder investigation" will drive anybody with a decent familiarity with TV crime investigation into hoots of derision, but really, I like Tucker. It is with Five For Fighting's Superman (It's Not Easy) playing in my head as I turn the pages that I succeed in not being stupefied by boredom.

The townies are familiar dotty colorful sorts, and there is nothing here that will stand out from the usual smalltown stories around. Lucky me, Tucker somehow gives me the romantic Clark Kent vibes, and this book somehow fills the time until Smallville comes on TV again. Along Came Trouble is more like a case of along comes typicality, but the hero's alright.

Rating: 69

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