Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Double Exposure" by Bonnie Hearn Hill

Reebie Mahoney is adrift in life after losing the vineyard she co-owned with her ex-husband. She does a variety of different jobs, but none mean much to her. However, in her latest job as a newspaper temp, she is chosen by the mistress of a dead ex-president to be the recipient of a big exclusive. Unfortunately, the mistress is shot and killed before any juicy interview can take place. Reebie becomes the main suspect, even though it makes absolutely no sense that she could have done it - she had a co-worker witness right with her for f***'s sake.

The president's mistress - Jeanette Sheldon - has actually been presumed dead all these years, so what really happened the night she was supposedly killed? Why has she been living a secret life? Why did she choose an absolute numbskull to confess all her secrets to? Reebie teams up with hunky journalist Leo Kersikovski to find out the truth, but everybody has secrets to hide - Jeanette's best friend Marcus (a closeted TV star), her other lover Ed Palacios (a sort-of mobster), the president's wife, the president's retarded son, the president's former aide and Dorothy The Dancing Donkey. Okay, I'm kidding about that last part.

It's hard to know where to start in trying to describe how awful this book is. How any editor could have slogged through it and thought: "Wow! Let's get this on the shelves, pronto!" is a mystery to last beyond time itself. For starters, the plot is all over the place, despite there not really being any plot. By the end of the book, you're left wondering why everybody went to so much trouble to do what they did. Characters die for very little reason at all. Motives make little sense.

But then again, I suppose that would have something to do with how terribly the characters are written and conceived. As is typical for the romantic suspense genre, the main character is the main culprit. What. A. Moron. The absolute nadir for me was when she asked the hitman who's trying to kill her to help out the other lady he's just whacked over the head. Sure honey, the hitman will put away his weapon and check to make sure she's okay. Then again, the hitman isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. Instead of killing a witness, he's happy to crack them on the noggin and provide them with the opportunity to later escape. Savvy.

When Reebie isn't being a total tool, she's being an exasperating whinger. How dare her ex-husband take possession of the winery in the divorce! I mean, it belongs to him and his family, but he had a moral obligation to hand it over to her because she did such a great job running it! She bangs on and on about this, and it often gets to be too much to take. What planet is this idiot from? I would have been rooting for the folks who wanted her dead, but considering they were all too stupid to successfully off such a dippy drip (I'm really running out of adjectives for "stupid person"), that was also difficult.

The icing on the cake is the terrible writing. Check this out: "his polish-black hair was so silky that my first impulse was to stroke it. That's what beauty does to us. Our first thought is that of the child. Touch it. Make it mine. But the child grows up and learns what happens when you reach for those bright balloons bursting with colour." Okay. Sure. What the f*** does that mean? Either my brain can no longer register metaphors and similes through too much exposure to romantic suspense garbage or....I'm reading romantic suspense garbage.


What really sealed the deal was when we learnt that the ex-president's aide shot and killed Jeanette. Interestingly, he also bit her on the ankle. Right down to the bone, apparently. WOULD THIS NOT BE OF INTEREST TO THE CORONER AND DETECTIVES WHO COULD MAKE A TEETH MOLD AND IMMEDIATELY RULE OUT THEIR PRIME SUSPECT????? Hands down, "Double Exposure" wins my award for the stupidest book I've ever read, so now I'm actually looking forward to see if anything can top it.

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