Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Cry Wolf" by Tami Hoag

Laurel Chandler is a prosecutor who has returned to her family home in the bayou after disastrously losing a child abuse case in which she pointed the finger at several big names. She reunites with her aunt Caroline and older sister Savannah, who is now a rampaging slut thanks to the sexual abuse she experienced at the hands of her stepfather when she and Laurel were young. Laurel was never subjected to any abuse, and still feels guilty for that fact all this time later. Although she wants to leave her lawyer past behind her, she unwittingly finds herself standing up for the Delahoussaye's, the owners of a bar that is being targeted by sham televangelist Jimmy Lee Baldwin, who decries it as a place of sin.

And what would a bayou tale be without a cliched gothic romance to go along with it all? Laurel falls for Jack Boudreaux, a former-lawyer-turned-horror-writer haunted by the suicide of his wife and subsequent death of their unborn child. He calls her many Cajun endearments whilst also declaring himself as somebody she can't rely on, despite popping up EVERY SINGLE TIME Laurel finds herself in even the smallest bit of bother. You'd think he was stalking her, but she just eats it up. Most of the time. Oh yeah, there's also a psycho lurking about strangling women and dumping their bodies, and the victims appear to be women with "loose morals". Uh oh. Could slutty Savannah be a target?

The back cover description of this plotless drivel concentrates mostly on the crime element of the women being strangled. I can tell you now that the strangler is barely even mentioned in the first 300 pages. The killer only seems to be included so that there can be an "exciting" ending, in which Laurel is abducted, stripped and molested. Otherwise, you would be VERY hard-pressed to call this a crime novel at all. Most of the 528 pages are devoted to Laurel and Jack as they talk, talk, talk and talk some more, and brood about their mutual haunted pasts. The revelation of the killer is pretty arbritrary and boring and there's no real motive given for his penchant for murdering "loose" women. "Cry Wolf" is an unmitigated bore with characters straight out of Romance-Cliche-Central that fails to entertain in any way whatsoever.

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