Shocking Behavior
by Jennifer Archer, contemporary/paranormal (2002)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52507-0


This book may be called Shocking Behavior, but don't expect the heroine to toss up her skirt to reveal a pair of crotchless Pikachu panties. Shocking here is as in the electrocution kind of shocking, get it?

Jerome Terrence Drake - JT please - is a hotshot author of true crime stories. He doesn't want to think of his alcoholic, workaholic mad scientist father he left behind in Pecan Grove, Texas. However, he gets a call from Daddy's concerned neighbor, comes visit, and as he snoops around, messes around with a refractor thingie and zap! There's an invisible man in the neighborhood. Call the Ghostbusters!

Daddy Drake has a partner-in-crime, our dotty heroine Roselyn Peabody. Rosy here is a mad scientist woman in the making who also happens to be drop dead gorgeous - hmm, like Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy in the atrocious Batman And Robin, perhaps? - but she and Daddy Drake can't figure out how to reverse the process on JT. They only make the neighbor's dog invisible instead.

As it turns out, Daddy Drake can only reverse the situation if Rosy and JT will risk limb and life for useless self-pitying pathetic die-daddy-die here and infiltrate some evil mobster's hangout for the missing piece of the formula. The fact that Daddy will become famous all over again as a result of this is probably an "oops" thing, huh? If you ask me, Daddy Drake is the ultimate evil. Die, daddy, die!

Anyway, you can probably tell that I dislike Daddy Drake utterly. Self-absorbed, whiny, and ultimately useless, he is all lip service. JT forgives him, which is good, but I wonder how Rosy can even imagine that it is JT who neglects his father and not the other way around. Maybe she secretly wants to sleep with Daddy Drake.

Mind you, I like this story, because it's interesting. The plot relies on an unacceptably high amount of coincidences to flow, but I like this story, maybe because I kinda miss the The Invisible Man TV series. Rosy and JT do have some chemistry, and JT's relationship with his late mother and his father is one of the most well-done and poignant aspect of this story.

In fact, it is JT who carries the story, as Rosy and Daddy Drake are typical loser-self-absorbed-nerds caricatures. I'm the fine one to talk, as I've been known to get lost in my researches when I was still at the lab, but I can tell you that we researchers may be absent-minded, but we are not all (a) sexually neurotic and (b) people with bad fashion sense. Some of us even have sex, watch porn, and wear lingerie. Rosy and Daddy Drake are the kind of losers found only in Stereotype Ghetto, and their predictable neuroses cause the story to lose quite a lot of its luster.

I don't know. This story has its share of very noticeable flaws, but nonetheless I keep reading from start to end in one sitting. I warm up to JT pretty easy, roll my eyes at Rosy and Die-Daddy-Die Drake, and scratch my head a little at the piling coincidences in the story. I can only conclude that this author can tell a pretty good story. Now all she needs is to loosen up on the coincidences and let nerdy people be a little more human for once.

Rating: 82


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