Just Before Dawn
by Rochelle Alers, contemporary (2000)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-103-0

Reading Just Before Dawn is like reading the exploits of very rich, very beautiful, and very posh people. In short, I find it tad too boring for my tastes. The latest in Rochelle Alers' Hideaway series is starting to morph into some sort of Dynasty with perfect people, and I, for one, am not sure if I want to keep reading. Where's the fun?

Sara Sterling who is successful and independent et cetera takes a break from the stress of the life of the rich and wealthy in her family's really fabulous mansion of a "home" in New Mexico. She realizes that she is alone (her brothers are off skiing or saving the world), leaving Sara with Salem Lassiter, the perfect uberhunk prototype since God created Denzel Washington. (Actually, I prefer Martin Lawrence, but hey, that's just me.) Will they do the deed? Will some bad guys put Sara out of the picture?

Salem is supersensitive and has a great affinity to animals. He is kind, protective, tender, rich, and he heals. Sara is proud, defiant, willful, successful, talented, and she can undoubtedly make Naomi Campbell consider an early retirement. I've no doubt their kids will one day (a) find the cure for AIDS, (b) solve the mystery of World Peace, (c) save Earth from an invasion from Planet Pluto, and (d) live in fabulous mansions all over the world.

In short, these people are so successful and so talented that there is very little actual suspense in the story. Are you kidding? I'm sure Sara and Salem can kick the baddies with both eyes closed and their hands tied. They're demigods. Hence, since these people are perfect, there is very little except for Sara's continuous I'm not ready for a relationship act to keep the romance going on and on. That really becomes boring after a while.

I'm sure some readers - fans of Nora Roberts' increasingly superhuman MacGregors, perhaps? - would love these people. Me, I'm all for money (I could always use more) and beauty (ditto) and success (triple ditto), but there's a line where fantasy escape becomes a super bore of a read. Just Before Dawn may be well-written, but without suspense or any real drama, it has crossed the line. I'm bored.

Rating: 64

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