Heaven In Your Eyes
by Judi McCoy, paranormal (2003)
Zebra, $6.50, ISBN 0-8217-7496-4


Messy plot canon, inexplicable character development, and inept romantic suspense derail Judi McCoy's latest, Heaven In Your Eyes. The plot is not something one would encounter today and readers still in mourning over the long overdue axing of Touched By Angel may want to give this book a try. But for me, this book's execution is too messy for my liking.

Anne McAllister wanted to tell her overbearing control freak husband that she wanted to be a police officer. But before she can do that, he dies in a drunk-driving accident (he's the driver). Cut to today, where Anne is now a US Marshal. She is charged to protect a mafia drug cartel guy Dominic Viglioni. Actually, Dom's actually Andrew Falcone, an undercover who's - you guessed it - trying to identify the moles in the Witness Protection Program. Wait, Drew's also Tom, who entered Drew's body when Drew gets badly wounded in a shooting. Since there are bad guys hot on our couple's tail, Drew grabs Anne and they're on the run.

Now, where do I start? How about Anne? Worst US Marshal, period. If there are more US Marshals like Anne, US Marshals who turn into mush in the presence of an attractive person in their custody, and worse, US Marshals who are self-absorbed ("He's hot. He kissed me. I want him. No. No. Yes! No. No.... OMIGOSH, I am too busy thinking about my messy emotions that I accidentally walked into a pothole!"), I'm moving to America to join the crime junta and make myself lots of money. Also suspect is her attraction to Drew, a man whose "similiarity" to her husband is well-noted by her. Anne is a doormat when she was married with Drew, and she hasn't evolved much after the marriage, no matter how many times Drew or her guardian angel tell me throughout the book. Frankly, the notion that we are putting guns in the hands of women like Anne scares me.

Drew/Tom's redemption is also suspect. He is still a jerk in Purgatory, but once the angel sends him down into Drew's body, he's instantly a changed man. This isn't a case of free will as much as divine personality brainwash we're talking about here. Drew's conflict about who he really is in this story is the only aspect of him that's done well. Everything else, especially his romance with Anne? Not even close.

The suspense? When the main characters seem more intent on having sex and psychoanalyzing each other's words, actions, and motives rather than to keep an eye out on the bad guys, let me ask again - what suspense? The suspense is just wallpaper.

Then there are the guardian angels and the really bewildering concepts of soul mates being tossed about. Apparently your soul mate is determined by the Creator or Angels or whatever (who determines this is never made clear in this book) but you have free will to choose your own mate and if you choose right, that person is your soul mate, provided this mate dies, gets brainwashed by God or whoever in charge, and gets tossed back at you. Or something.

The inherent problem of this book is this: Judi McCoy tries to tackle too many things in her book. If we remove the suspense angle, the romance and the guardian angel aspect may go together better. If we remove the guardian angel angle, the romance and the suspense may work very well together. Put all three elements in, and I get a mess. The romance has no room to develop, the guardian angel canon is vaguely added in with no apparent rhyme or reason, and the suspense is stillborn because everybody is too busy psychoanalyzing or getting horny to actually care that there are bad guys on their tail.

Heaven In Your Eyes is like an overgarnished but overstuffed Thanksgiving turkey. It has plenty of superfluous garnishings, but it's too undercooked to live up to expectations.

Rating: 50


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