Amazon Montlake, $13.95, ISBN 978-1612181523
Romantic Suspense, 2011
If you have been following my reviews, you know that I have a soft spot for heroines who kick rear ends. And there is nothing that I find more infuriating than being misled into believing that the heroine of a book is such a woman when she is actually not even close to being one.
I am led by the promotional materials for Robin Perini’s In Her Sights to believe that Jasmine “Jazz” Parker kicks ass.What I get instead is that Jazz is quite ass in the take no prisoners department.
Here’s the thing: Ms Perini sets Jazz up most promisingly. Jazz is the Jefferson County’s only female SWAT sniper. She saved the governor’s daughter by making just one clean shot.
And then she lets the penis of Luke Montgomery into her life and everything goes to hell.
Luke, a reporter, lies to and sleeps with Jazz to get information for an article, and when the article opens a can of worms that allows some demons from Jazz’s past to catch up with her, sticks around like a bad rash and paws her while insisting that he’s not going to love her ever. That guy is actually quite an asshole, but his bigger crime in this story is being a colossally stupid hick whose antics often don’t make sense. He’s an ex-Army Ranger, and his antics explain the “ex” part perfectly, if you ask me. That guy can’t even guess at the identity of an anonymous caller who has it bad for Jazz even after witnessing a stormy and near-violent confrontation between Jazz and the other asshole who happens to hates her more than I hate Luke.
As for Jazz, well, let’s just say that if she were a male character, her treatment at the hands of the author would be considered emasculation with extreme prejudice. Luke throws a daughter at her to mother and nurture, because we all know a woman isn’t good enough to love until she displays some creepy-neurotic obsessive mother-above-all tendencies. Even then, Miss Hotshot Sniper spends the bulk of the story in tears, needing protection from the evil elements, needing comfort and reassurance, and more. The dramatic confrontation with the final villain sees her breaking down, fighting back wild sobs as she wonders desperately how she is going to live now that she seems to have lost both Luke and his daughter. Jazz is kicking ass alright – in the Yeah Right, Strong Woman My Ass department.
And of course, in romance novels, a woman who kills is a sacrilege, so the author goes to bizarre extents to make Jazz “likable”, as if completely turning her into a damsel in distress and severely destroying her character aren’t enough. So we have Jazz making claims to justify her job, claims that make her look like a complete imbecile severely out of touch with the real world. All her terminations are “justified”! She is not a murderer! She is just saving lives!
The thing is: it is very rare to find a male action hero going through such lengths to justify his job, and it is just as rare to find a story where such a hero’s “strength” keeps degrading exponentially until the heroine has to help him stand straight, so to speak. It really sucks to be a female in a romance novel, sometimes. If she’s unlucky and ends up in the hands of authors like Robin Perini, she’s a “strong” heroine who spends the whole story wailing and sobbing while finding her true calling in being a mother and wife.
In Her Sights can bugger out of my sights. After reading this hideous showcase of gender double standards, I think it’s time I get drunk to dull the entire awful experience of having to endure page one to last. What is love? Well, it ain’t this book, that’s for sure.