Dell, $6.99, ISBN 0-440-23760-2
Romantic Suspense, 2004
It’s probably not a good time to make jokes about the ineptness of the US Secret Service people, right? But Christina Skye’s latest romantic suspense, Codename: Nanny does a marvelous job in making an FBI agent heroine and a Navy SEAL hero come off as so clueless and unprofessional on the line of duty that they may have great sex but gosh, they are more useless than a dictionary on George W Bush’s office table. Since the author displays no self-awareness in her story as to how dumb her characters are being, I really don’t think that this book is a satiric look at the way FBI run things.
It all begins when Senator Tate Winslow, a Presidential hopeful, proposes to Cara O’Connor, the youngest DA in the country. Cara has two children from a previous marriage. She also has a secret: she had an abortion done in Mexico years ago. Now, that secret is about to be exposed, oh no. That’s just the least of Cara’s headache: someone is threatening to harm her children and this someone may or may not be Richard Costello, the villain Cara is trying to put behind bars.
Tate is pretty sensitive for a politician and despite reassurances from Cara that everything is fine, he asks his friend, Navy SEAL Gabriel Morgan, to keep an eye on Cara. Gabe is nursing a knee injury so he’s glad to do something to while away the boredom. In the meantime, our FBI agent Summer Mulcahey is assigned to look after the kids’ safety. So we have the “nanny”, Summer, and the “gardener”, Gabe, joining the O’Connor household without each knowing the other’s actual identity. Gabe brings in a computer hacker to make the party livelier.
The thing is, gosh, these people are dumb. The bad guys are portrayed as unbelievably inept buffoons rather than actual threats, but Gabe, Summer, and company can’t even do anything right. They argue, bicker, have sex, but they can’t even piece together any clue to lead them to the bad guys. Instead, they spend time fending off the antics of the stereotypical teenager and psychic little girl monsters that are the two O’Connor kids. By the way, the psychic is the one that solves the case.
It is one thing to be Wacky! Funny! Crazy! in order to cover up the fact that this book has no realistic foundation in actual FBI procedurals. But when the characters come off as Stupid! Inept! Utterly Clueless! Terribly Useless! however, that’s when this book ceases at being funny and starts being a train that derailed off the tracks while hunting for a clue. Codename: Nanny isn’t a deliberately funny and wacky book as much as it is a guessing game for the reader to spot which nonsense is deliberate and which nonsense is not. And there are plenty of nonsense in this book to keep the reader entertained for hours, although not in a manner Ms Skye would appreciate.