Zebra, $6.99, ISBN 0-8217-6933-2
Romantic Suspense, 2001
Oh, gather round, undiscriminating fans of TV movie types of stories. Put on your full Jaclyn Smith regalia and enjoy Janelle Taylor’s latest muzak offering, In Too Deep.
The startlingly poignant tale of a poor little rich, passive, helpless damsel named Jenny Holloway, who is now living in some small town away from her daddy’s millions. She is so upset that daddy bought off her abusive, evil, brutal, Saddam Hussein-esque husband, because it’s like, you know, a blow on her femininity and independence! Of course, she wishes she has learned “true passion” earlier in her life, instead of the sheltered dumb weevil she was to be duped by a handsome face.
So now she lives alone with a cardboard-thin son for “character development deficiency-masking accessory” purposes, with no need of a man, any man ever. Of course, she has this psycho girlfriend who, like all stereotype psycho girlfriends in these type of stories, immediately pegs any man who is rude, nasty, or weird with Jenny as “Ooh, Jenny, you like him!” I hope I never know this type of friends. Can you imagine what the mad woman will say if she sees me slapping some guy who copped a feel? “Ooh, you must be so hot about him to slap him like that…” Here, go sniff some glue and get high and shut up.
Meanwhile, we have the usual burned-out ex-cop Hunter Calgary (with a name like Hunter, is there any doubt that he is an ex-cop?). Hunter is so sad – take out your hankies, people – because this scumbag evil pig PIGPIGPIG worm killed his sister. Well, what are the chances that the guy involved is also Jenny’s MIA husband? Ooh. In this case, 100%.
Hunter protects Jenny, who in daunting and fearsome feminine liberation stance will bring even the staunchest feminist onto her knees, refuses to stay put and follow orders. Nod in empathy and sympathy as Jenny forgets all about telling Hunter important information because when she sees his lean thighs, all she can think about is making love to him. Gasp at the over-the-top mad nutcase villain that makes Yosemite Sam look like Albert Einstein. Marvel at the implausible coincidences, inept mystery, and just as inept characterization that borders on caricatures.
Then again, maybe not. In Too Deep is like a lousy TV movie watched via a lousy TV. Two parts blurry and ten parts static, 100% mediocrity guaranteed.