L.A. Confidential
by Julie Kenner, contemporary (2001)
Harlequin Blaze, $4.50, ISBN 0-373-79020-1


I have to at least commend Ms Kenner for not taking the bunghole route for Harlequin Blaze and churn out another "dumb virgin wants sex NOW" horror story. But the first chapter, the best part of this story, is just a tease.

See, Ken Harper wants to wait until wedding day to sleep with his woman, Lisa Neal. Lisa, however, soon gets a choice to move to New York for a bigger acing stint, and leaves Ken behind. Nice, I think. Now maybe we can have some real drama about emotions and second chances, yes?

But the story then jumps to five years later, and sure enough, in true crap romance novel fashion, Lisa is punished severely for daring to chase her dreams. Her life is pretty much down the drain, and with no job and no chance of getting one, she has to swallow her pride and watch as Ken soars to lofty heights as the owner of fashionable restaurant Oxygen. Poor Lisa now has to beg Ken to let Oxygen be used for the set of a new movie, so that she can at least get some credit as an executive producer in the movie. Or something.

Ken demands that his price for his acquiescence is sex.

At this stage, I've completely had it with this story. It can't drag me into its whirlpool of mediocrity fast enough.

Put in a subplot about this stupid ho girlie of Ken, an actress who is peeved because Ken is not helping her career. Listen, dumb girlie, you don't shackle yourself with a restaurant owner for plum roles. You play the casting couch, moron.

The victimization of Lisa isn't perfect without her humiliation. So, yeah, she wants the sex too. So we have sex. Sex. More sex. More? Okay. Here's some more. And more. And even more until I shriek for euthanasia to come sweep me into its blissful embrace so that I will no more have to deal with books with no decent plot and worse, sex in PG-13 "hotness" (meaning: this is more like accidental humiliation than a domination/submission fantasy).

I feel like a 13-year old girl all over again reading my first "hot" book. Only, come to think of it, I think that "hot" book I read when I was 13 at least had some genuine fun moments involving a woman, two lusty gardeners, and a really interesting - if scary to a 13-year old - use for the garden hose.

L.A. Confidential blazes in my mind only in how much a wasted opportunity it is. Could've been dramatic and emotionally, but the author chooses to blaze me with dire plot devices instead. Oh well.

Rating: 53


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