Project Eve
by Lauren Bach, contemporary (2005)
Zebra, $6.50, ISBN 0-8217-7632-0

"If Cherry Adair can do it, so can I!" That must be Lauren Bach's mantra when she sits down and works on Project Eve, a book guaranteed to drive readers up the wall if these readers are allergic to idiot heroines who have no common sense and do stupid things against the hero's instructions repeatedly. Readers allergic to blatant Christianity and right-wing bashing may want to wrap the GOP banner around themselves for strength before opening this book. Readers who dislike very obvious errors that can be easily avoided with some research - I'm no American but even I know that the CIA have really no jurisdiction in the matter that plagues the hero and the heroine - may want to think twice before tackling this book because we are talking about major plot-fundamental boo-boos here. And that's not even taking into considering some bizarre instances in this story such as a PC monitor that gets you online without a CPU connected to it. It looks like Ms Bach is trying to alienate as many readers as she possible, doesn't it?

I don't know how to give a comprehensive synopsis because this story has so many labyrinthine twists and turns that after a while I find myself wondering what exactly am I reading. There's our heroine, Rachel Anderson, a private investigator, who investigates the possible pregnancy of a senator's late wife (she isn't impregnated via immaculate conception, that's for sure) only to find herself playing undercover with her ex and CIA agent Elijah Trent in a boarding school run by Christian zealots that also double as sex slave/mass hypnosis center/wife market for lascivious US politicians. I find myself wondering why these politicians just can't go find some hooker or an intern for their nonsense. Does Ms Bach has an answer to that? Oh, and I nearly forget - this Shepherd's Cross College run by the Shepherd's Cross Church also double as a headquarters for baby trade. Like all good Christians, obviously these people don't use birth control.

There are plenty of twists and turns here, with the villains being appropriately nasty. The villainous head honcho William Hanson is a caricature of a right-wing wacko. The heroine has the predictable self-esteem issues and even better, she is not only idiotic, she has this tendency to do very stupid things, such as ignoring the hero's cautions because she is so independent that way.

But come on, really, what's the use of stock characters and labyrinthine plot twists overly-reliant on the threat on our heroine's nether region when the basic premise of the story require a major suspension of disbelief? The CIA operating within the USA, and fighting with the FBI to boot? No, let me rephrase that. The country's foreign intelligence agency wasting time dogging the FBI in a local matter? While I know some people would love to imagine that right-wing wackos in the USA should be given illegal immigrant status and be deported to somewhere far away, like Abu Dhabi, it doesn't reflect well on Ms Bach to make this kind of mistake in her story. And let's not even talk about that magical CPU-less PC, unless Ms Bach has some super-duper fancy computer that I am not aware of, one that she no doubt uses to write this book - maybe that will explain the absurdity of the basic premise of this book. "Don't look at me! The plot logic is in the C drive of my CPU... and it's missing!"

If you have no problems climbing a metaphorical Mount Everest when it comes to suspending disbelief when confronted with the sheer amount of absurdities littering Project Eve, this ridiculous story may very well turn out to be a cheesy fun campy read high on sexploitation factor harkening back to B-grade T&A movies of yore. For me, though, there is only so high I can climb that metaphorical mountain before I start to choke. Seriously, can you honestly call yourself a serious romantic suspense author when you get the roles of the CIA and the FBI all mixed-up like that?

Rating: 43

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