Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-06-243747-1
Romantic Suspense, 2016
Welcome back to the land of the LOST – Last Option Search Team – with Cynthia Eden’s Taken. Here’s the dish: it’s exactly the same as the other books in the series, just change the names and wallpaper aesthetics. So, if you love those books and you don’t mind partaking the same story again, this one may just be what you are looking for. If not, well, thank goodness there are so many other books out there to read.
This time around, the serial killer is the Death Angel. He of course goes after pretty young girls, and our heroine Bailey Jones is the survivor. Once again, the cops are incompetent and mistrusted by the good guys, while the media is naturally all scums out to sensationalize everything. The hero, Asher Young, is the protector sort who is hired by Bailey to locate another girl she helped to escape the Death Angel during her own grand escape, and he is very turned on by our heroine’s constant trauma. After all, in romantic suspense, being screwed in the head is the best way to get both the hero’s protective instinct and flagpole up, all the way to the happy ending. The bad guy, stalking the heroine, spots her with Asher and immediately goes HO HO HO WHAT A HO, NOW SHE MUST DIE. The heroine falls in love with the hero and immediately grows a spine after all that schtupping she’s been getting.
See? It’s the same thing, only with some cosmetic changes here and there!
Worse, details keep being repeated as the main characters rehash things again and again. The author spends the prologue describing Bailey’s ordeal and escape, and then in the first chapter as well as the next few ones, she has Bailey bringing up the whole thing again. And later, the hero asks her to share with him those same details again, and I can only wonder whether the editor had passed out from annoyance to do her job right with this book. I can relate to the passing out thing, by the way. There is even another lady here… and her story arc and angst are the exact replica of the heroine’s. The hero keeps bringing up again and again how strong Bailey is, but how she is not that strong to avoid needing his constant hovering and growling kind of protectiveness, so he can still get a rock hard chubby in her presence, hurray. The whole fetishizing of the heroine’s trauma as sexy is eye rolling enough, but to have the hero keep “praising” the heroine for needing protection pushes the whole thing into a creepy kind of broken record.
Anyway, I’m not Taken by this one. It feels like a lazily done by-the-numbers rehash of the author’s past books as well as every generic “There’s a serial killer out there, so oh crap, screw me, my hot bodyguard type boyfriend!” romantic suspense out there, with bonus annoying repetitive scenes and inner monologues to pad out the whole thing. I’ve certainly read worse, even from this author, but I’ve certainly read better – many, many kinds of much better.