A Most Dangerous Profession
by Karen Hawkins, historical (2011)
Pocket, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-4391-7594-1


A Most Dangerous Profession is not the same book as the previous book in the author's The Hurst Amulet series, but its plot about a couple torn apart by deception gives me a feeling of déjà vu nonetheless. Then again, maybe it's because both books have this rushed feel to the whole proceeding. This story is pretty short, and the text is presented in huge fonts, so I can only wonder whether the author had been rushing out the books in this series under some kind of duress. Her older books were never as half-baked and halfhearted as these recent few books of hers.

So, anyway, the plot. This book is the third of the series, with a big plot about how each of the three Hurst siblings must find a "priceless ancient relic" to free their brother, who is held captive in Egypt. In this one, the hero Robert Hurst is reunited with Moira MacAllister, the woman who had him falling for her and even marrying her before he realized that she was chasing the same thing he was after, and this time, yes, they are still chasing after the same thing. This time around, Robert learns some predictable things about Moira - she is actually a nice person who is doing this to save her daughter - their daughter that she never told him about - and therefore, she's worthy of being his wife after all.

The whole story is a standard historical romance tale full of familiar archetypes and situations. In fact, a part of me considers this book an improved version of the previous book, if only because the heroine doesn't carry her desire for martyrdom to the extreme extent of the heroine in the previous book. Moira is still a predictable dingbat heroine, though. Her so-called cunning nature and survival skills are informed (lies told by the author, in other words), since everyone right down to the fellow hired by Robert to investigate her has no problems seeing through her lies and disguises. Robert can tell that she's hiding something by the fact that her eyes telegraph everything she tries to hide, apparently. Aside from being a failure of a "spy" and "liar", Moira is saddled with the usual mental deficiencies common in romance heroines. When she was knocked up by Robert, she naturally ran away, because it was all about her and not about her child, despite her claims to the contrary. She refuses to tell Robert about her child, because she reasons that he will take her away from Moira. Never mind that he is with the government intelligence and he could have used his contacts and authority to help her rescue her daughter - our far-thinking heroine knows that she will one day rescue her daughter, and therefore, it is far wiser to plan for those beautiful days instead of actually thinking up ways to extricate herself and her daughter from the mess they are in. Pretty much all the way to the bitter end, she's determined that there is no future for her and her child with Robert. Why? She just says so, and there is nothing more beautiful a prop to one's martyrdom than a sad little brat by her side.

Robert is, predictably, far more capable, although his intelligence is quite suspect, considering how much he overestimates Moira's intelligence in this story. He's a standard romance hero, nothing too unusual there, but I guess it's nice that he's around to clean up Moira's mess for her. Even idiots need a hero, after all.

Oh, and the plot resolution is neat and tidy in an anticlimatic manner. I'm not complaining too much, though. It's better that this book - and this series - end quickly so that its taint of mediocrity doesn't linger around for too long.

This series is ill-executed from the start, with the idiot Michael's captivity being little more than an excuse to have people run wild and fall in love in the books. A Most Dangerous Profession is the best book in the series so far, but that is only because the previous two books were really bad indeed. There is only one more book to go before this flop of a series comes to a merciful end. Let's just say that I do not have high hopes for that one. When is the old Karen Hawkins coming back?

Rating: 51


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