Avon, $6.99, ISBN 0-06-053983-6
Romantic Comedy Mystery, 2003
Belinda Hennessey, still smarting from a broken relationship, leaves Cincinnati for Atlanta, where she takes up a position at the Archer Furniture Company and forms a carpool with Libby and two other not very important women. They bitch about their boss “Maniac Margo”. They, no doubt admirers of Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect, draw up a list of do and don’t rules for women in a relationship. (Their list is funnier than the list in Mr. Perfect though.) Then Belinda rear-ends a car and meets two hunks: cop Wade Alexander and traffic guy Julian Hardeman. Who shall Belinda choose – Julian or Wade? But when Margo turns up dead and her shady dealings in the company are exposed, poor Belinda gets shoved into the spotlight. It isn’t only the traffic that’s a problem in Atlanta.
Kill the Competition is Stephanie Bond’s first Avon Superleader book. While for the most part the author manages to inject her snappy one-liners in this story, the story is pretty uneven. Like Mr. Perfect, Kill the Competition starts out as a more conventional romance story only to abruptly switch into romantic suspense gear in the second half. The suspense is rather underdeveloped though and towards the end, the story becomes a series of expositions – Ms Bond has some way to go if she wants to strike out as a romantic suspense author.
Unlike Mr. Perfect, the characters here are very generic to the point of being nondescript. Belinda, the usual “good girl” sort, fares really badly as she comes off often as very whiny, very passive, and very gullible. Her relationship with Wade is barely developed in this story. The other three women are stereotypes, and not very well-written stereotypes at that.
So, since Kill the Competition has lackluster suspense, underdeveloped romance, one-dimensional characters, and is quite redundant as there is a better book out there that shares loosely the same premise (Mr. Perfect), what good is this book for? It looks as if the author will have to wait a little longer before drawing blood from her rivals in the genre.