Very Much Alive
by Dana Marie Bell, paranormal (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-392-0


Okay, imagine, if you will, a world where the Norse gods Baldur and Loki aren't enemies but rather, best of friends. With benefits, mind you. And as "Kiran Tate" and "Logan Saeter" respectively in their modern incarnations, they speak like this to each other:

"We need to take every precaution."

"Yup."

"Dot our i's. Cross our t's."

"Of course."

"Leave no stone unturned."

"Kir?"

"Pursue every lead."

"Kir!"

"Yes?"

He felt Logan's sigh against his hair. "We have an appointment we don't want to miss, remember? Or should we just chuck it all and you can go work for Hallmark?"

I... I... Well, I suppose it could be worse. They could be rubbing each other's cheeks while crying like babies as they dry hump each other.

He yelped when Logan smacked him on the ass. "Let's go, princess, or we'll be late."

Kir rubbed his ass and turned with a frown. Loganís laughing face zoomed in close as his lover planted a quick kiss on his lips.

"Last night you were on the bottom. Doesnít that make you the princess?"

Logan looked over his shoulder at Kir as he led the way back to their beachfront house. "Hell, no, blondie. You're way too pretty to be anything but the princess. Besides, you're the one the evil queen wants dead, remember?"

Kir snickered at the thought of the dour Oliver Grimm as a "queen". He'd pay big bucks to see Daddy Dearest in drag. "What does that make you? My loyal woodsman?"

Wait, did I say that things couldn't be worse?

These guys speak and behave like giggling little girls who have just discovered penis jokes and who also think they are Harold and Kumar rather than Norse gods who have lived for a long, long time.

Jordan Grey, our PI heroine, doesn't know what to think at first when Kir and Logan show up at her doorstep claiming that her step-grandfather Grimm is Odin and Odin had tried to frame Logan for Kir's attempted murder. You may be wondering why one would ask the step-granddaughter of one's enemy to help bring down the enemy. Well, I'll let the brainy twosome explain it to you.

She stared at him like he'd just grown another perfect head on those perfect shoulders. "Are you freakin' insane?"

He blinked, looking startled as her voice went from cultured smoothness to a rough Philly accent in two seconds flat. Logan snickered, his expression delighted as Jordan lit into them with both barrels.

"He's my grandfather."

"Step-grandfather."

"Doesn't matter! Hello? Conflict of interest here!"

"That's the whole point. If someone with your ethics believes us, and can prove it, we'll be able to see to it that Grimm is punished for what he's done."

If you can't tell by now, everyone in this story speaks as if it is Betsy Taylor Appreciation Day. Like, hello? This? Is annoying! Especially? When done in excess. Like, Dana Marie Bell is doing here. Everyone snickers, smirks, giggles, and behaves like juvenile kids so often that I expect them to start pulling wedgies on each other.

"God, you are such a bitch." Jeff laughed, peeking over the book he'd been reading.

She smirked at him. "Takes a bitch to know a bitch, bitch."

"Aw, c'mon, Jordan! The love scene was coming up. Pleeease?"

Jamie had her hands clasped in front of her, her very finest imitation of innocence plastered all over her face. Jordan looked at Jamie over the top of pretend glasses, deepening her voice to match that of her stepfather, and the twins' father, Fred Grimm.

"It is undignified for a grown woman to beg."

"Like Dad doesn't make your mom beg every night." Jeff smirked at Jordan's look of horror.

"Ew!" Her brother and sister laughed as she stuck her fingers in her ears, scrunched her eyes shut and started yelling, "Lalalalalala," at the top of her lungs. She'd never do something like that with clients in the office, but it was lunchtime, so she knew the place was empty. Besides, who else could she cut loose with but the Wonder Twins?

Just how old are these characters actually are? 10?

Build-up, suspense, pacing - all of that is tossed to the wind because everyone here is busy behaving like randy boys seeing their first Playboy, cranking out one-liners even when the situation warrants some sobriety. Very Much Alive is very much stillborn because the author treats the story more like an excuse to indulge in juvenile humor.

I've given this author four tries and I think it is time we part ways over irreconcilable differences. Good for you if you enjoy her brand of humor, but I'm off to read something else now.

Rating: 42


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