The Last Mercenary
by Diana Palmer, contemporary (2001)
Silhouette Special Edition, $4.50, ISBN 0-373-24417-7


Alright, this is vintage Palmer. You know, unbelievably stupid hero who has ruined the unbelievably brain-damaged heroine in the past and now they are together again, where she has to prove to him that she is not like the other sluts out there (slut, by definition here, is any woman who likes the company of men - only in Bad Romance Novel Land, of course). The Last Mercenary is no different. Diana Palmer should stop watching Geraldo for her muse.

Callie Kirby, your brain-damaged heroine, is in love with Micah Kirby since forever. Even if he has drunkenly kissed her (as well as her mother, but not at the same time, of course) and then called her a slut, hence ruining her reputation in town. Now, she knows Micah hates her, and she remembers all the hateful words he called her when she kissed the drunken Micah back that night - she knows he's drunk, but remember, she has loved him forever true and the mostest la la la dingdongland - but she loves him. She loves him! And she loves him. One more time - she loves him!

Oh, she's a virgin. At her age, in her mid-twenties, she is so shocked when she experiences her orgasm late in this book at the hands of Micah - shocked, I tell you, and I bet this is the first time she even knows there are openings between her legs, since she is dumb enough in every other way - and Micah has to tell her, "This is how it is between a man and a woman" or something equally condescending.

Sometimes, the books I read really, really scare me.

Micah is a lovely man. He spends his time as a mercenary, but he also takes time to stalk Callie's every move 24/7 without her knowledge. He is doggoned when he learns that Callie doesn't talk or associate with men or even do anything for that matter, so she may be pure instead of a slut after all. Damn. When Callie gets kidnapped by Micah's enemy (don't look at me like that), Micah goes to rescue her and teaches her about those orifices between her legs. I mean, come on, Callie is really that stupid. She has no clue about sexuality at all. In a contemporary novel?

The suspense is laughable. The characters are prime examples of what you will end up as if you keep banging your head against the wall until your skull cracks. But I must say, it's very fascinating and macabre entertainment in watching stupid people do stupid things. Yes, it's a cruel form of entertainment, but Micah and Callie are just so stupid that it's hilarious. The dialogues, the prison-bully and the doormat-from-Ikea characterizations, the inane "suspense" - well, as long as people can love autopsy sites on the Internet, I can safely say I find this one pretty fun in a trashy bad way and still not worry about my credibility.

Trailer park fun rules!

Rating: 56


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