by Ava Rose Johnson, contemporary (2008)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.25, ISBN 978-1-59578-500-8
Depending on your personal preferences in reading material, this is going to be either an encouragement or deterrant when it comes to Ava Rose Johnson's His Lying Eyes: there are some morally dubious elements in this story, including the fact that the heroine Olivia Jacobs knows that her father dabbles in illegal activities, including dealing in cocaine, but she reacts merely by distancing herself from her father because she wants nothing to do with his business affairs. If you expect her to squeal to the cops or to beat herself up for her father's activities, you won't find that here.
I like it when characters doesn't stick to black and white, so I personally have no problems with this novella. In this one, Olivia realizes that her wish to distance herself from her father's activities is a naïve one as her father's recent bad deal causes his enemy to send someone to kidnap her. This someone is her ex-boyfriend Zach Marsden. Zach has his own agenda to kidnap Olivia, as the poor dear will eventually discover. Is love the second time around in the cards for these two?
The timing of the sex scenes is one that I find rather off in the sense that I doubt anyone in Olivia's shoes will want to get kinky in her situation, but still, the story itself is pretty interesting - it's a nice change from the usual good girl/bad boy formula of the genre. The author has her characters, especially Zach, playing the angst card without overdoing it. As a result, I find myself enjoying the characters instead of wanting to throttle them.
However, the story loses much of its momentum in its last few chapters. The author has the characters indulging in some superficially-treated soul searching. This results in a brief separation and a loss of the momentum that has built during the recent climatic moment in the story.
His Lying Eyes isn't what I'd consider a keeper, but still, it is an interesting story that tries to be different from most of the stories in the market out there. And I always have a soft spot for authors who march to a different beat. I can't help, therefore, thinking fondly of this story, what with its strengths and weaknesses and all.
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