Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86396-9
Romantic Suspense, 2015
Trinity Layton quit the LAPD after nine years of service, when they denied her a promotion and she successfully sued them for discrimination. She used the money to open her own personal security business. When the story opens, her business manager just went MIA on her – along with a huge sum of money – and the IRS is breathing down her neck because the man didn’t pay taxes for two quarters. And then, her brother points out that his buddy, Gunner Brooks, needs a bodyguard. Trinity normally detests gamblers like Gunner because her father was a useless gambler who made everyone else’s life hell, but hey, it’s not like she can turn down any business at this point. As Gunner gets ready for a big upcoming tournament, can Trinity successfully guard his body or will his body end up bringing her guard down?
Sin City Temptation can be simply summed up as “barely readable, very forgettable”. Trinity, to give the author some credit, is pretty decent as an action heroine, but Gunner sort of negates that by not taking Trinity seriously for quite some time, often going into “client with no brains” territory. You know how sometimes there are idiot heroines out there that refuse to listen to their bodyguards’ sensible advice on self defense and taking precautions to ensure their safety? Gunner starts out as the male version of these dingbats. Fortunately, he becomes better as the story progresses.
However, both characters rarely rise above being standard archetypes. The author’s attempts at emotional drama boils down to the two characters giving often unnecessarily detailed responses with so many minute information that they often appear to be reading aloud from the FAQ section on the IRS website. As a result, there is a clunky, clumsy feel to the entire narrative in this story which prevents me from fully getting emotionally invested in the story. The entire thing just feels artificial.
The sense of artificiality is only inflated by my increasing suspicion that the author is just making things up when it comes to the heroine’s business. She claims that Trinity has 25 employees, for example, so why is Trinity personally taking on Gunner’s case, especially if she doesn’t like him at first? Throughout the story, Trinity is never concerned with the more tiny details of running a business – for a boss, she seems to have this unlikely luxury of just doing her thing without, say, people calling her. This is especially unlikely considering that she has just lodged a police report on her MIA partner. What, people just forget about this thing?
I also don’t know what the author is thinking to have Trinity just forgive the business manager when she meets him again. I guess this is supposed to tell me that Trinity is… generous? Alas, I end up thinking that she’s just a pushover for a sad story.
At any rate, Sin City Temptation is a lumbering but still readable story, but it doesn’t inspire me to cheer the characters on or stick to my mind. It’s just another story – a substandard one at that.