The Promise
by Dee Davis, time-travel (2002)
LoveSpell (Timeswept), $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52475-9


Dee Davis is like two different authors in one. Seriously, her romantic suspense books are like non-stop torpedo sessions of the most dire overused plot devices, but her time-travels actually display some promising character development and hints of originality. I don't know what to think, really.

Of course, now that Dee Davis is a romantic suspense author now, she tries to weave in some suspense elements in The Promise too. And that's where the pain starts, because the suspense here is a no-brainer. I know who the villain is from get-go, so everyone in this story is a moron waiting for a nuclear explosion to happen before they can see the obvious.

16-year old Cara and her parents were in a car accident that killed her parents when she saw an angel in her walk in the tunnel of light. Or something. She doesn't know that she had went back in time and was found by young Michael McPherson. She vanished soon after and Michael always wondered what happened to her. As for Cara, she believes that she has been saved by the angel Michael.

Today, nineteen years later, Michael is badly injured. Guess who finds him. Yes, he has traveled to Cara's time, and now he must adapt before he can find his way home. Back in Michael's time, his brother tries to solve their father's murder, in which Michael may or may not be the prime suspect.

Michael and Cara are basically decent people, but their romance, while pleasant, is monotonous because the author chooses to focus on the no-brainer suspense part instead of developing the attraction of those two beyond instant attraction and gratitude. But the author does a decent job in bringing out the melodrama of star-crossed lovers separated by time, et cetera, that it's worth a read if you ask me.

But the villains are just plain spastic and they talk and act like Daffy Duck's more stupid frat brothers after too many beers. Contrast this with the author's well-done sense of place and time and I just really think that Dee Davis can't write romantic suspense for peanuts unless she stops the endless barrage of stereotypes in her stories. Man, there's nothing more embarrassing than a book that tries so hard to emulate the masters in a very obvious been-there, done-that way. A book that screams "Wannabe!" is so uncool, just like a frat geek who tries so hard to fit in with the cool crowd.

The Promise does show that if the author sits back and does her own thing instead of trying too hard to be Snidely Whiplash's biggest fan, she can actually write a good story. But of course, promises, promises. It's making good on them that counts in the end, right?

Rating: 71


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