Hot Pink
by Susan Johnson, contemporary (2003)
Berkley, $15.00, ISBN 0-425-19010-2


I have to love a book where the hero is described to be as gorgeous as Goran Visnjic, right? Wrong. Susan Johnson's Sex In The City, Only Sexier wannabe of a book suffers from one severe flaw: it doesn't give me any reason why I should give one hoot about the characters in this book. Frankly, the characters aren't even likable - the heroine is sad and pathetic while the loser hero is a creep. If there is any sex in this city, it's probably only the salamanders who are having fun in the house.

Chloe Chisolm is a web designer. Although judging from her behavior in this book, web designer is only secondary, her major job is to be a first class loser. After a boring blind date, she stumbles into an elevator. Then what do we have here calling for the Chloe to hold up other than the Visnjic clone himself. Unfortunately, his name is Rocco Vinelli. No matter. Cocked-up contrivance plays fairy godmother and makes it such that Chloe's car can't start. Of course Rocco - do I really have to say his name? - has to give a hand, and next thing you know, they're having a one-night stand.

Fair enough, but they meet again soon enough, only this time Chloe learns that Rocco has a girlie, Amy. Amy is blonde, so naturally she's the psycho bitch. Here's one thing that really bothers me: during their foreplay that night, Chloe specifically asks Rocco whether he is involved with anyone and he says no. Technically, one can say he isn't engaged or involved, but Amy is obsessed with wanting to marry him and he isn't above humoring her (and hence stringing her along) because her father is rich and he could use the investment to help poor old family relatives. Awww. Isn't that the most touching thing you've ever read?

She says she must not see him anymore. He says he must forget her while clinging to Amy. Then they meet and have sex. Repeat and rinse until poor Amy has a nervous breakdown and has to be carted away to the loonybin. Then, at last, our gruesome twosome are free to love. If what they have is "love", that is, which I doubt.

Here's the thing: I don't really care for Chloe. She's a weak-willed, indisciplined floozy who apparently just has no choice but to succumb to her lust for a man she believes to be engaged to someone else, again and again. If she's going to play the homewrecker, I'd rather she come clean about being one rather to justify her behavior with half-hearted "I can't help it!" nonsense. Is she that weak and pathetic? As for Rocco, don't get me started. That porn star name is already a turn-off, and here we have a loser who really just cannot tell the rich blonde psycho bitch to get lost. I really sympathize with Rocco and Chloe, who as they commit repeated acts of We Really Can't Help It, See Us Screw dramatics, keep agonizing about how terrible it is that they cannot find happiness together. Oh please. If Ricco wants Chloe so badly, he can always ditch Amy, can't he? If Chloe wants him so badly, she should have given him an ultimatum - her or me - instead of acting like an overly hormonal wretch. There is no Grand Star-crossed Passion in this book, just two cowardly idiots wanting the cake and eat it too, only both don't have the guts to be upfront about it.

Hot Pink is right - if we're talking about a babboon's bum, that is.

Rating: 53


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