Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86192-7
Romantic Suspense, 2011
Brianne Kenyon was engaged to Carter Smith, but the engagement ended in tragedy when Carter and his best friend Alex Thorpe went hiking up the Rocky Mountains three years ago and only Alex came back. Since no one found Carter’s body, Brianne keeps hope that Carter is still alive all these years. Then, one day, Alex shows up at her doorstep to tell her that Carter may be alive and drags her into a chase to seek out her fiancé. Along the way, Alex and Brianne begins developing inconvenient feelings for each other. Oops.
Freefall to Desire is one of those stories where the main characters are fine, but the plot is a completely daft. I’m sure you won’t be too shocked to learn that Carter turns out to be a scumbag who never loves Brianne, all the more convenient for Alex and Brianne to hook up without having to lose sleep over their cheating on Carter. And no, there is no good explanation as to how Carter manages to hide his true nature from his best friend or his fiancée, when they are supposed to be close. Things just happen here, and while these things are standard plot developments found in romantic suspense novels, these things are inserted without much logic. Alex doesn’t want to tell Brianne that Carter is a bad guy, so why does he bring her along when he could have just searched for him all on his own? No idea, but this development is necessary for the whole “Oh no! Did he pork me to get back at Carter?” drama to take place later in the story. Why would Brianne’s friends hook up with Carter – aren’t they supposed to be her good friends? Again, I have no idea. In romance novels, all women who isn’t the heroine are skanks by default, I suppose. And how come she has no clue about these hookups? Brianne comes off as a pretty sharp and intelligent heroine here, except for those moments when the author decides to have Brianne being oblivious to the obvious for the sake of the idiot plot.
Because most of the time Alex doing stupid or inexplicable things for the sake of the plot, the poor dear comes off as a pretty dim-witted guy. He’s a nice guy, especially for one who is cheating with his best friend’s girlfriend, but he also has to be dumb for the sake of the plot. Brianne fares better since for the most part she is as bewildered as I am about the twists and turns of the story, and barring her bizarre blind spot for Carter all those years, she is actually a pretty sharp heroine who can quickly put two and two together when the author decides that such displays of intelligence are fine for the plot. The romance comes off more like a tedious litany of justifications as to how Carter turns out to be nasty, so it’s fine if they cheated on him first. It’s not like Brianne’s going to really marry Carter anyway! I am not too worked up about Alex and Brianne sleeping together as they search for Carter, but I’m not sure whether I should be amused or exasperated at the lengths Ms Perrin goes to justify the “rightness” of their actions by suddenly revealing that, lo, Brianne is attracted to Alex all along, she just doesn’t know it! That’s as laughably fake as nearly everything else that happens in this story.
Freefall to Desire is a very artificial story, where the whole set up is designed to accommodate a series of clichés; without any regards given as to whether these clichés make sense in the context of the story. Oh, and don’t get me started about the author blatantly inserting a character that is supposed to be the heroine’s best friend, who only shows up at the early and last chapters of this book, so that Ms Perrin has an excuse to write a sequel. If only the author has given more thought to the logic of this story instead of how she can pretend that her fans simply clamored for her to write a story featuring a character that shows up in this book for… what, fifteen seconds? The whole thing is a pointlessly stupid waste of time.