by Scarlet Blackwell, contemporary (2010)
Silver Publishing, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-920468-60-6
Rescue Me is the rainbow version of a plot that should be familiar to readers of romance. Our hero, Matt Harmon, nearly died in a car accident. Now, he needs to undergo therapy to regain control of his movement. He's grouchy, sullen, et cetera, and all those scary female nurses only want to shag him. There is light at the end of the tunnel when James Hayden shows up to become his nurse. He's gorgeous, understanding, sensible, and is more than happy to hold his pee-pee for him when nature calls. But will Matt's issues tear them apart for good?
I am not a reader who pays close attention to the technical aspects of a story, so it is pretty telling when the first thing I notice about this story is that the first five pages of this story are all telling and no showing. No conversations show up in those pages, just paragraphs of information dumping.
I find myself thinking of ways the story could have been made more interesting. For example, let's look at the opening paragraph of the first chapter:
In the accident which almost cost Matthew Harmon his life and put him in intensive care for a month, he sat trapped in the front seat of his beautiful Lamborghini
Gallardo Spyder for an hour and a half, appallingly lucid for most of it while firemen cut him free. A shattered pelvis and snapped left femur made him delirious with pain while
the questing fingers of his right hand told him the edges of his left fibula and tibia stuck grotesquely through the skin. His left arm wouldn't work, the shoulder dislocated and the
clavicle fractured, every breath agony as his broken ribs collapsed his left lung and ruptured his spleen. The detonating airbag bruised his face, and flying glass sliced him open from ear to mouth. He sat with a mouth full of his own blood and prayed to God for the first time in his life.
Imagine if the author had instead jumped straight into Matthew's head as he was trapped in his car. Imagine if I was allowed to feel his panic, sense his fear, and watch as he tried to move the fingers of his right hand only to discover that there was bone protruding through his skin. Won't that be a more gripping way to reel me into the story? Instead, Ms Blackwell just drones on and on - "And so he felt this and did that and blah, blah, blah..." - and the whole thing is just not very exciting, I have to say.
Once Matt meets his handsome nurse, there are more conversations to break the monotony of the narrative. But Ms Blackwell is still telling rather than showing. As a result, the main characters remain distant from me, the reader. I know what they are doing or saying in a particular scene, but I have no clue as to what they are thinking.
The build up of the romance is pretty decent. While James and Matt are not exactly characters that I have not encountered before, they do have a nicely-depicted budding relationship. However, this is a pretty long story and the consummation happens pretty early. The author doesn't have enough conflict to follow up the love scene and sustain my interest in the story, especially when the story already suffers from too much telling and not enough showing. The story just goes on and on and on and on, and I find myself wondering why no one has thought of ending this story shortly after the consummation.
Rescue Me could have been a decent read. At the very least, it should have been more interesting than what it turned out to be. A few more rounds with an editor who knows her stuff would have worked wonders for this story. In its current form, it is an earnestly written tale that is bogged down by technical flaws present in the narrative.
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