LoveSpell, $6.99, ISBN 0-505-52583-6
Fantasy Romance, 2004
A Mary Sue tale at its finest, Lynsay Sands has editor Kate C Leever married to a vampire because as people in this book suggest, marrying a pale-faced bloodsucker is all the rage now. If only because those shape-changing werewolves are a little hard to mass-import from Scandinavia, I hear, because Ellora’s Cave and Red Sage Publishing have currently a dual monopoly on the furry stud pimpage.
In Tall, Dark & Hungry, the same problems that inflict her last few books in this series are present: the heroine is absolutely stake-worthy and the plot becomes so repetitive by midway point that I feel my blood draining away without even the aid of two sharp fangs over my jugular vein. This book has more emotional intensity than the previous books in the sense that the main characters have credible and sympathetic emotional baggages, but the author’s overdoing the roundabout psychobabble thing of hers really kill the mood.
As Kate and vampire Lucern Argeneau get ready to walk down the aisle – alas, Mistress Elvira is not going to be the minister, contrary to rumors – but these two are so in love that there is a genuine danger of the wedding being overtaken by the honeymoon. In comes Terri, Kate’s cousin. She’s British, which is the author’s posh way of saying “nitwit” without fearing about offending Tony Blair. Terri needs a place to stay because she arrives two weeks ahead of schedule and Kate somehow neglected to arrange for proper accommodation. Maybe as an editor of romance novels, Kate here is well aware of the heroines’ amazing ability to tolerate the worst of situation silently, resiliently, and stupidly. It probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that Terri has no money to get a decent place of her own. Because she’s a barmy Brit, after all. Dude, do you know that those Brits put an extra u in their color and neighbor? Talk about stupid, huh huh huh!
Bastien, Luc’s brother, agrees to put Terri up in his penthouse. It’s only for a while though. But “a while” becomes a little longer than that when a toilet crashes on Chris Keeslar’s, um, Chris Keyes’s, head and Luc and Kate have to attend a writer’s conference in Chris’s place. Yo, Chris, if you’re reading this, what did you do to deserve this, man? I shouldn’t read too much into this scene, even in the light of Ms Sands’s absconding to Avon for her subsequent Argeneau books, should I?
Terri doesn’t want to love because her love had died and she doesn’t want to endure another loss. I can understand that at first but she then goes on and on and on about it, she turns into a one-trick pony braying a boring tune. Bastien doesn’t want to marry especially if his mother has any hand in the machinations but he starts to fall for her as he plays along with being human by her side. But Terri notices that Bastien is a bit on the pale side and sometimes she’s convinced that he’s having some illness, so she isn’t sure whether she should explore the attraction between them or not. And so they go. He doesn’t know whether to tell her he’s a vampire because an old girlie in his life fled in terror when she learned that he’s a vampire (silly cow can’t be a romance reader, that’s for sure). She likes him but she is certain that he is going to die or worse so oh, oh, oh! Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Instead of making the characters interesting or their romance a little less of a one-note monotone, the author packs in plenty of external subplots. The naughty cousin Thomas is in town trying to seduce Terri (he’s a vampire who likes to bite his victims the old fashioned way). How many accidents can Ms Sands put Chris through? (Keep the egg beater away from the poor man, somebody.) How much meddlesome mommy and daddy antics can Ms Sands put into this story? How stupid can Terri be to do calamitously stupid things and act like a bizarre hyperthyroidic not-too-smart thirteen-year old girl with a terminal case of being very annoying? If you are curious about the answers to these questions or you know you will enjoy fluffy romps carried forward by madcap antics, never mind the flat and underdeveloped romance, this book may just be up your alley.
I’m more intrigued on whether Chris will finally drown in a puddle in the next book and be replaced by the lovable matchmaking Aunt Carrie.