Monday, August 25, 2008

Review: Mr. Perfect, by Linda Howard

First off, here’s why I picked up this specific book.

This whole blogging thing has been really good for broadening my horizons. I like contemporaries as much as historicals and paranormals, but I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up due to the psycho-killer aspect.

Here’s the thing. I can finish up a book involving werewolves, vampires, demons, and whatnot, and feel pretty sure that whatever terror befell the redshirts in that book are not going to happen to me. Some might think I’m deluding myself, sure, but on the list of things that worry me, vampires don’t actually rate (the downside of that is, I’m also pretty sure I’m not going to get swept away by V or Cade, either, more’s the pity).

Psycho-killers do make the list though. I mean, it may be true that the odds of being attacked by one are statistically similar to being bitten by vampire, but I was single once, and lived alone. I went on a few blind dates. I currently live not far from where Ted Bundy got his start, and I once worked within a half mile of John Wayne Gacy’s house. And now I have daughters. I understand why the entertainment industry, including movies and TV, create such nasty villains, but I personally just have a hard time being … well, entertained by them.

So, Mr. Perfect starts off with something of a disadvantage for me. I recognize, though, that it’s not a fault of the book – criticizing the book for having a villain I don’t like is just-- silly. Like criticizing ice cream for being too cold.

On to the good things, ie, Sam Donovan. Wow, is he ever a good thing. Yum. Seriously yum. I completely understand why the DIK ladies fight over him. Yeah, he could warm up my island hut any time.

I also completely love Jaine as a heroine. If only she were a little bit more fashion-challenged, she’d be me. (Well, me about 20 years and 40 lbs ago, but I digress). Mostly I love her sarcastic wise-cracking, and it really resonated with me when she observed that she usually had to hold back for fear of hurting people’s feelings or leaving them in the dust, but Sam not only kept up with her, he took her sparring in the right spirit and challenged her right back. OK, Ms Howard covered that better but I can’t find the quote so you’ll have to make do with my paraphraseology.

Part of the plot revolves around an off-hand and off-color List that Jaine and three of her girlfriends compile over cocktails one night on the subject of what constitutes—OK, no credit for guessing this one—Mr. Perfect. As a plot device… it was a little bit meh for me. I mean, there wasn’t anything all that outrageous on there, as far as I’m concerned:

1. Faithful
2. Nice
3. Dependable
4. Steady job
(OK, so far, your average mailman makes the cut)
5. Sense of Humor
6. Money (comfortable but not filthy rich)
7. Good looks
8. Great in bed
9. 10” (by now the girls are mostly just talking smack, but the list was transcribed by a 3rd party)
10. Able to last 30 minutes, not including foreplay

Maybe I’m just jaded. Anyway, The List takes off, hits the media, etc. etc. (which I only found marginally believable) and causes Mr. Not-So-Perfect to go off the deep end. The final twist of whodunit is pretty good, although the characterization of the killer up to the reveal is a pretty standard textbook whackjob with mommy issues.

So, is this a classic? I guess I could see it. And to tell the truth, I’m going to keep my copy for awhile just so I can re-read the scene where she tells him he needs curtains. Overall, it’s not really my kind of book—but dang, Jaine and Sam are absolutely my kind of characters.



Stacy~ said...

Oh, I'm sorry it didn't really work for you, but this is definitely one of my comfort reads. I basically ignore the villain part of it (rolling eyes) and enjoy the glory that is Sam. And I liked Jaine a whole lot too, but it's really all about Sam.

Shannon said...

Now you get why Sam is in my hut. :) Jaine is almost as fabulous. Almost. Because who could be as great as Sam? OK seriously, Jaine is very real. So much so that I had the same reaction as you, "that's me!"

Linda Howard creates heroes worth fighting over. If you don't like the killer as villian story, then you may not want to read much of her backlist. She tend to go that route often, but I think it is worht it.

Nicola O. said...

Yeah, I think I can totally recommend her if you're OK with the psycho-killer subgenre. She's clearly a competent writer with awesome characters, which normally keeps an author on my go-to list.

Ladytink_534 said...

I think I might have this in my TBR pile. I usually don't care one way or the other (unless he's really interesting like Hannibal or Dexter) but the killer in Koontz's The Good Guy gave me the creeps.


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