No Way Out
by Andrea Kane, contemporary (2001)
Pocket, $6.99, ISBN 0-7434-1275-3
No Way Out would have been a better read if the author hasn't smacked me in the face with a forced romance that has no chemistry, no plausibility, no sexual tension, and worse, is not entertaining. Trouble is when the secondary characters are far more interesting than the Robotone Guy Connor Stratford and Monotone Moo Julia Talbot. Big trouble is when Moo and Robotone fall in love over what seems like barely a week, the relationship unfolding in splendid monochroma of passionless sex scenes.
Julia Talbot is a teacher. Her favorite brat is Brian Stratford, who worries her as he is more and more quiet and withdrawn each day. What is going on? Brian's daddy Stephen is the mayor who is running the senate race, so Julia is opening a can of worms with her inquiries. To stuff her mouth, Connor intends to be the sacrificial lamb for his beloved brother's ambition and career. I guess romance heroes need to be martyr as an excuse to prostitute themselves too.
As No Way Out spirals down a labyrinth of greed, blackmail, and kiddie kidnappings, I must say there is a good suspense in here somewhere. Unfortunately, Robotone Guy displays little emotion that will distinguish him from a cold-blooded reptile. He sees, he seduces, and wham? Er, it's love? Yes, that's it, if Andrea Kane has her way. Likewise, Monotone Moo sees, she spreads, and after a few jolly good orgasms, she's declaring her love for Robotone Guy? Nice. (Then again, he's rich, so I do understand the incentive for falling in love so fast on her part.)
Stephen and his wife are more interesting characters, as both are flawed yet displaying at least two-dimensional traits, which is more than I can say of Monotone and Robotone. It should be their story, I think, not this chemistry-free, plausibility-free monochromatic, monotonous love affair between Robotone and Monotone. Alas, with so much words allocated to the two moo-moo's and very little for the more interesting folks, No Way Out is a curious spectacle of misplaced priorities.
Sometimes romance-free is the way to go if the author has to put in a rushed silly "romance". Why even bother when the story could've been stronger without the half-baked romance?
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