Don't Look Down
by Suzanne Enoch, contemporary (2006)
Avon, $6.99, ISBN 0-06-059364-4


Don't Look Down is the actual sequel to Flirting With Danger because the main characters from the previous book, ex-thief Samantha Jallicoe and the British aristocratic rich guy Rick Addison, are back for another adventure. This time around, it's been three months since those two started trying to have a relationship. Sam is trying to be legit by opening a security firm. Rick is worried however when Sam's first client ends up dead. Sam's on to the case, and Rick, worried for her safety, makes a bet with her that investigating the murder by the book will be a better way to do things. Strange, isn't it, how he claims to be concerned for her safety yet he makes a bet that will encourage her to be even more reckless in order to win the bet?

Personally, I feel that if Ms Enoch wants to start a cash-cow contemporary cozy mystery line, she has better find some ways to spice up things because if this book is any indication, there won't be much to sustain the momentum. Not to go into any spoilers but the murder mystery in this book is not good at all. The suspects are obvious, for one, and the clues and red herrings in this book are just as obvious. As in the previous book, everyone else seems to be dumbed down so as to make our main characters come off as smarter. The thing is, because the clues are so obvious and our main characters are always at least three steps behind the reader, I don't think any artificial ways to make the characters come off as smarter will cut it. Ms Enoch must spend time to make the murder mystery even halfway challenging or the characters are going to come off like they have just been kicked out of the Mystery Machine for being too stupid even for Mystery, Inc.

As for characters, I'm starting to get worried for Sam because she's starting to become suspiciously apologetic and whiny about her job as a thief in the past as if somehow she'll become not good enough for Rick. Sam is also too gullible in this story, often deciding to trust people - even a gigolo - by instinct. Rick on the hand starts to show some control freak tendencies in his "Must! Protect! Sam!" antics although to his credit he recognizes what he is doing and tries to give Sam her own breathing space.

Let's just say that there's a very good reason why Don't Look Down isn't shelved in the mystery and crime aisle in the bookstores. Any halfway serious reader looking for a decent mystery story will probably toss this book across the room and write disparaging remarks about "Harlequin romances", "Fabio", and "fat housewives" on his or her favorite forums. Seriously, for a "action-paced sexy" adventure, this book needs more action and more sexiness. It also needs a more challenging mystery. The only reason why I will consider not looking down when it comes to this book is so that I can make it across the rope and move on to better things as quickly as possible.

Rating: 52


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