The Pirate Hunter
by Jennifer Ashley, historical (2004)
Leisure, $5.99, ISBN 0-8439-5280-6

A truly tedious first half of the book causes The Pirate Hunter to be bogged down into dullsville territory. The heroine is one of those "I hate you! I can't resist you kissing me and putting your hands all over my body so... ooh OH I HATE YOU!" creatures to whom any prolonged exposure to is guaranteed to drive me nuts.

The story actually began in the previous book, The Pirate Next Door, when James Ardmore, the token American liberty-loving lip service dude hero archetype, took Diana Worthing under his custody in order to get some information about her husband, an incident which culminated in him stealing a kiss from her. That was then. Now, Diana is a widow and living in as island, Haven, with her father and her seven-year old daughter. Besides daughters and sons of romance characters are damaged in some way if they are not intemperately perky, poor Isabeau is deaf. One day, Diana stumbles upon two men washed up on shore all bleeding and what-not. Why, one of them is James, that infamous pirate hunter who grabbed her and snogged her a year ago! It's "Pig! Pig! Pig... ooh, ooh, OH... Pig! Pig who molested me! Pig!" time!

Diana and her father are hiding secrets that James is trying to discover, so there's some fun there to be had. But instead of being sensible, Diana instead turns out to be one of those undisciplined creatures who would happily be seduced only to start their litany of lip-service hatred to their seducer the moment they come to their senses. This is a constant pattern in the interaction between Diana and the single-mindedly horny James that the first half of the book becomes bogged down by tepid and repetitious behavior. It doesn't help matters that Diana is a loud and impetuous heroine who often acts before she thinks. When she's not trying to blame herself for all sorts of problems that befall Isabeau and Haven, that is, but I guess a silly termagant has to occupy her time somehow so it may as well be joyless self flagellation.

It is only later when the characters leave Haven do a few thrilling moments of seafaring adventures start to take place. Ms Ashley should, I believe, concentrate on adventurous scenes instead of all those tedious, flat, and overly stereotypical "character development" of hers if this book is anything to go by.

Oh, Isabeau is actually quite adorable.

Everything that is great about The Pirate Hunter is packed in the later half of the book, which makes the first half of the book a chore to wade through. The Pirate Hunter therefore feels like only half of an entertaining book. Maybe, therefore, it's a good idea if you get this book at half its initial price at the UBS.

Rating: 70

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