Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-06-233009-3
Romantic Suspense, 2015
Hello, people! HelenKay Dimon is reaching out to all of us, through Facing Fire, from generic GI Joe Land. If you have watched anything from 24 to Alias to the wretched and thankfully canceled The Following, then nothing here that will feel even a bit unexpected. The same action figures, the same sarcastic quips, the same same same. Some degree of work may be required to make this interesting – such as working the imagination a bit to imagine that every guy in here is played by a naked James Purefoy – and I guess it’s up to the reader to decide whether the effort is worth it or it’s easier to just re-watch the actor’s full frontal scene in that episode of Rome.
Anyway, we have Sutton Dhal, the heroine who is a PI on a mission in Paris to track down her mother’s killer. Her efforts land her on the crap list of the good guys, as they believe that she knows too much about them and, really, the whole thing seems suspiciously too much like a coincidence. Is she a follower? No, it’s like in The Following, in which we have idiots playing serial killers to emulate James Purefoy’s character, it’s… oh, just read the book. Our hero Josiah King just witnessed his uncle getting blown up to bits on live TV, thanks to the Big Bad Villain, so he’s determined to track down Sutton and get everything she knows out of her. Why do I get this weird “Mike/Max alternate universe fanfiction” vibe from this story? At any rate, they meet, trade sarcastic quips on her part and “I’m broody and dangerous, I may kill you with that big gun in my pants, so tremble before my scowl and cower at the sight of my stubbled chiseled jaw!” posturing on his part.
Meanwhile, the bad guy is so evil that he’s just missing a set of glorious Fu Manchu facial hair. There are plenty of hilarious efforts on the author’s part to sound… well, I don’t know what she’s aiming for, but it’s hilarious, whatever this “what” is.
A killer who got away with unspeakable crimes
Ooh let me guess, let me guess – those crimes are… homicide?
Words that didn’t match up but were strung together in what looked like sentences.
Words arranged together – oh my goodness, who would’ve thought the end result resembles a sentence? Awesome!
Lights brightened the space around them and cast the area outside of a close-in circle deeper into the shadows.
Imagine that – now we all know how light works. Fascinating!
He tended not to hug rebels or terrorists.
No kidding! Profound.
The romance is basically sex, cut to her insisting that it’s all adrenaline in action, cut to him whining that he’s not good for her, secondary characters cheer him on to go get her, it’s love, the end. The action scenes are the bulk of the story, and the whole thing resembles a cheap and poorly acted B-grade movie from the 1980’s – those that were filmed in Philippines or Thailand due to cheaper labor and what not, starring Lorenzo Lamas and whichever bimbo that was willing to bear her kittens on screen in the obligatory sex scene. Whether this is good or bad depends on the readers. Me, this one has its campy charms, but the problem here is that it is just too generic to be a campy braindead action caper. It resembles other stories of this sort too much, so its familiar elements nullify its campy appeal considerably.