Warner Forever, $5.99, ISBN 0-446-61294-4
Contemporary Romance, 2003
Sandra Hill’s Tall, Dark, and Cajun stars a very sexy and likable couple who could set the pages on fire with their sexual tension. Unfortunately, their story will fill up at most 80 pages. This book has 384 pages. Everything else is pretty much bizarre and outlandish slapstick humor of Cajun weirdos behaving weirdly. Those who find funny loud and abrasive old women, slow and brutish dim-witted overgrown males, and see-through attempts at prolonging the story using artificial conflicts will have a better time than other readers.
Rachel Fortier is starting over. She ditches her man who cares more about her looking like a supermodel (he buys her exercise machines and health pills as gifts), burns all the machines and pills, and takes off in a red truck (complete with patented plate “Redhot”) to visit her lost-long grandmother in Cajun country. Upon rolling into Bayou Black in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, however, she encounters her grandmother squaring off with the local guys. Among these guys is Remy LeDeux who sets her hormones on fire even as she ignites him into self-combustion. And, er, that’s it.
There’s a subplot about Remy wanting to buy the land of Rachel’s grandmother to build a bigger helicopter pad (he wants to be a big hero to crack down on drug dealers, you know – and yes, he’s an ex-soldier now-government action hero complete with some scars on his face). This subplot introduces some really contrived conflicts for our lovers later in the book, and that’s after the author has run out of pet crocodiles, strange cousins, loud abrasive old women who use guns and fire openly on other people, overly-horny fifteen-year olds, louder abrasive matchmaking old women who forcefully meddle with their grandchildren’s lives by doing bizarre things like forcing upon them hope chests and also drive like crazy on the road (because old women speed demons are funny, really), these old ladies’ friends, and more. If that’s not plenty enough, the author cheerfully repeat and rinse these strange people’s antics to fill the book, so much so that the inept attempt at suspense late in the book feels like a divine deliverance from madness itself.
Poor Remy and Rachel are pretty much lost in the whole mess. They can only sizzle and hold my attention for so long because the author’s inept attempts at prolonging the story and using contrived means to keep them apart become a painful distraction. Left alone in a bedroom, Remy and Rachel will probably create a home-made dirty movie that the world has never seen before. But the author doesn’t seem to have a clear idea what to do with her characters and story once she starts writing. With so many repetitive wacky antics by bizarre wackos, each one becoming less funny with each repetition, there can only be so much I can take before I am tempted to start cracking jokes about inbreeding in small towns. Judging from the IQ of most of these people, though, these may not be jokes as much as a cautionary tale about not sleeping with your cousin, brother, pet crocodile, or stuffed animals.