Island Interlude
by Linda Hudson-Smith, contemporary (2002)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-343-2


"Out of professional curiosity, may I know what exactly are you on?"

That line is out of one of the coolest movies ever, Go, and yes, I'd like to borrow that line to ask the hero of Island Interlude, Craig Caldwell. Yo dude, what exactly are you on? Consider his response to heroine Sambrea "Sam" Sinclair when he has invaded her personal property (I'm talking about land here, so don't get too excited, people).

"I don't pay attention to signs. You may own this land on a piece of paper, as I do mine, but we can never truly own what doesn't belong to us. Neither you nor I created this magnificent seascape. It all belongs to a Creator."

If I sneak into the house of my neighbor and get caught, can I use this defense in court?

Craig talks like that all the time. I'm not joking. That man seems like a tank short of being a submarine ballast, a sandwich short of a picnic, and a dollar short of a bus fare to the nearest nuthouse. It's a good thing he has lots of money, or else I'll mistake him for a raving mad street prophet.

The story is bewildering. Crackpot Caldwell has been spying on Sam all the while, and I don't want to know what he is doing while spying, thank you very much. Until he can't take it any more, and then he crashes into her property and they end up making strange, surreal sex. I say surreal because I don't think any sane woman outside of Penthouse Letters or The Red Shoe Diaries will want to sleep with a man who invades her personal space and talks like a crackpot. Unless she's a fellow crackpot who wants to share her stuff. But I don't think Sam's like that.

Sam runs her father's luxury cruise line, and she is pretending that the company is failing so that she can prevent a hostile takeover. I'm no businesswoman, but I think that's a, well, strange business strategy indeed. Imagine her shock when she learns that Crackpot is the one poised to initiate a hostile takeover on her De La Brise yachting company.

I find it rather nasty that Crackpot will sleep with her even knowing that she will be shocked in the morning when they meet again in the boardroom. But I find it just whacked that he expects her to understand that he's not using her and that what they have is, uh, the real thing or something. Sam understandably jumps to the conclusion that he is using her that night and he is just like all the useless men (except Daddy, who's just a lousy businessman) she knows.

So the story has Crackpot wooing a reluctant Sam back with his beautiful crackpot nonsense ("Listen to your heart, Sambrea. It only knows how to be honest. I love you, but I'm not going to make love to you. What I'd do is to convince you of my love would free your spirit and unite it with mine forever. The problem is, I don't think you're ready to be convinced" - what a crackpot). Providing respite from Crackpot's drug-induced "My New Age is stuffed up my bunghole" speeches is the ever popular The Bitch Is Back plot. Yup, no woman in this story is halfway decent, all are ho's, skanks, malicious bitches, backstabbers, and whiny gits (the last one is Sam).

Still, I must admit that Crackpot is unintentionally hilarious, and that's the saving grace of this really, really bizarre story. It's not a nice kind of comedy, because we all know that we must help, not mock, crackpots of the world, but seriously, y'all, Crackpot here just rocks, man. If his best buddies Jay and Silent Bob show up and they all end up naked and stoned in Crackpot's boudoir, won't that be cool? The look on Sam's face alone will be, as Mastercard puts it, priceless.

Rating: 53


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