Kisses Don't Lie
by Alexa Darin, contemporary (2007)
Zebra, $4.99, ISBN 978-0-8217-8039-8


Alexa Darin's Kisses Don't Lie is a very problematic read for me because I can never stop thinking from the first page that the heroine needs therapy. Bailey Ventura's chief criteria for a husband is that he looks and sings like Elvis Presley. That is all there is, believe it or not, to the reasons why she's attracted to our hero, casino security officer and Elvis impersonator Carter Davis. Therefore, in a story that is supposed to be about true love, I have a really hard time buying the romance.

Having spent her entire life pining and saving her virginity for an Elvis clone, which seems to be the next best thing for Bailey since the real Elvis is, you know, dead, Bailey heads over to Las Vegas to find herself an Elvis Presley impersonator. It will be Elvis Idol, really, as she studies each Elvis impersonator and decides on which one she will settle for, only this time she's the only one with her fingers dialing the same numbers 5,000 times on the figurative phone in her head. Unfortunately for her, Carter is involved with the local thug boss, Frank Zoopa, and when the party begins with a diamond heist, Bailey is going to have a trip to remember.

This is a wacky madcap romantic comedy with plenty of scenes designed to elicit laughter from the reader, but I have a hard time understanding what is going on in Bailey's head. She's 25 but she behaves like a silly teenage Elvis groupie. The problem here is that her attraction to Carter is due to the fact she thinks he is the best Elvis impersonator she has seen so far in her trip, and her subsequent trust in him is also because of this very superficial reason. Throughout the story, Bailey behaves either like jealous little girl bitter that her favorite boyband singer is dating Jessica Simpson or a bird-brained idiot who can only come up with stupid ideas and even more stupid plans. It's hard enough to like a silly bint without that bint coming off like a really sad and obsessed person who could use a life. And what happens when Carter decides that he doesn't want to play Elvis anymore? Given how crazy Bailey is, she'd probably cover his face with a pillow and sit on that pillow while singing Hound Dog to herself until the men in white coat show up to drag her away.

Carter is a decent hero, if only because he comes off so wonderfully sane compared to the heroine, and... really, I'm sure this story will be an amusing madcap adventure if the heroine is someone else other than Bailey. I really don't understand Bailey. In fact, she's too much like those sad and pathetic obsessive American Idol fans that dial on those numbers every night until their fingers bleed while screeching on message boards that there is a conspiracy against their favorite TV boyfriend.

Speaking of which, I suppose this book could have been so much worse. Instead of being all about Elvis, this one could have easily been about Barry Manilow. Or Clay Aiken. Eeeeeuw.

Rating: 51


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