Avon, $6.99, ISBN 0-06-059364-4
Romantic Suspense, 2005
I must have been misled by the phrase “action-packed” that are wrongly used in so many reviews of this book that I’ve read out there because this book is as action-packed as a ninety-year old woman’s social calendar. Suzanne Enoch’s debut contemporary effort Flirting with Disaster is also the first book in a series starring Samantha Jallicoe, cat burglar, and Rick Addison, British aristocratic billionaire. Ms Enoch’s storytelling style translates seamlessly from her Regency-era romances to her contemporary tales, but unfortunately, Sam and Rick spend more time dating than showing their action chops.
Sam meets Rick when she breaks into his home to steal an antique tablet, only to realize that not only is he at home, someone has already broken into the house before her and has rigged a bomb. She saves Rick when the bomb goes off but this leads the cops to suspect her of the bombing. She approaches Rick with a bargain: she’ll help him find the bomber-cum-thief and he’ll get her off the hook for murder (a security guard is killed in the explosion). The attraction between the two of them is there.
Rick and Sam have great chemistry and a rapport/banter system going on, and the attraction between them is spontaneous yet believable. In this, Ms Enoch does a great job in presenting two attractive characters sizzling in lust and slowly falling in love. Because this book is the start of a series, readers should expect some loose ends when it comes to these two’s relationship. Have to keep something for the upcoming books after all, don’t you know. I really like how Sam and Rick don’t make apologies for their behaviors and I am especially glad that Sam doesn’t go on a Mary Balogh trip and starts wailing that she is a bad person and hence deserves to die or something.
However, good chemistry can also go so far when chapters after chapters see these two going on dates under the scrutiny of Rick’s security people, talking, having rendezvouses where they talk some more, and after that, maybe it’s time for some smooching before it’s gab time once again. I can get cramps from waiting for something to happen in this book, I tell you. There are twists and turns in this book, but everything unfolds through the talk of the characters. I want to see some cat burglar action, a shimmy or two, some… I don’t know, exciting, intriguing espionage/cat burglar stuff, maybe, but Flirting With Danger ends up a very disappointingly traditional story with more talk than action that wraps up in a very formulaic and disappointing way.
Also, I’m not too enamored with the ultra-inept cops and security people in this story – they come off too much like cartoon character contrivances. Can also someone please shoot that irritating Tom Donner, Rick’s lawyer, for me? I swear, he is the worst lawyer in the world, just yapping and yipping like an idiot. Because so many players in this story are stupid or inept, Ms Enoch ends up stripping her story of much suspense because it’s hard to imagine that Sam or Rick, apparently the only smart and capable people in this book, will in any way not solve the mystery.
Flirting with Danger, if truth be told, is a very charming book solely because of the characters’ chemistry. The story and the plot development are a cross between a Looney Tunes episode in the cackling Tom Donners of this story and a dumbed-down If Tomorrow Comes Sydney-Sheldonian beach read. There is plenty of room for improvements so maybe I should cut this book some slack. The next book should aim to be better than this one though!