Sunday, 19 October 2008

Phantom in the Night

Ordinarily, I quite like Sherrilyn Kenyon's writing. Her Dark Hunter series is tremendously good fun, and Acheron, the most recent in that series, actually had some depth to it, despite one or two technical flaws. This collaboration with Dianna Love though, just doesn't work.

Firstly, there's the mildly preposterous plot. Terri, working for a government agency so secretive that they can't get a decent acronym (Bureau of American Defence. Given the quality of the book, it's apt) is looking into local crime boss Mareaux, who was probably behind the death of her partner and setting her up, when a body shows up. It's supposedly that of ex-special forces man Nathan Drake, but is actually that of his twin brother Jamie, Nathan having taken his place in prison by pretending to be him. Nathan gets out and starts hunting for his brother's killer, sending the pair of them after a couple of layers of ancient secret societies. It's difficult to ignore the temptation to ask whether Kenyon has Jean Claude Van Damme writing her plots these days. Ok, I thought on reading the blurb, it's utterly silly, but no more so than some of the stuff going around these days. Handled well, it might even be fun.

It wasn't. Fun or handled well, that is. Most of the characters are one dimensional stereotypes, and that applies just as much to the main characters as the supporting cast. The authors had clearly worked out pasts for them, but having the characters tell us about the million and one things that happened to them in endless exposition does not equal character depth. Worse, the female lead, despite a supposed DEA background, has neither common sense nor the ability to protect herself. It leaves her both as unbelievable, and as the sort of helpless romantic heroine that's an insult to both the reader's intelligence and women in general.

And then there's the part where the authors forget that in the first few pages, she gets a good look at the corpse of the dead twin. And yet she still doesn't work out who Drake is when she first sees his face. There are pointless coincidences and plot holes throughout, this is just the worst, and it leaves the book feeling more like a clash between the authors than a genuine collaboration. Worse, it leaves the thing as a disappointment, because I know Kenyon can write much better stuff than this.


Lisa Damian said...

Sherrilyn Kenyon keeps popping up on my list of amazon recommendations. Sounds worth checking out, but I'll start with the others you recommended first. Thanks.

stu said...

Just so long as you don't start with anything in this series.