Monday, December 12, 2011

"Twice Kissed" by Lisa Jackson

Maggie McCrae has a tumultuous relationship with her twin sister Mary Theresa. Her sister now goes by the single-moniker name of Marquise and is a talk show host whose fame is slowly on the decline. When she receives a telepathic message from her sister stating that she is in danger, Maggie begins to worry. The worry is confirmed by the arrival of Thane Walker, Marquise's first husband - and Maggie's first true love. He says that Marquise is missing - possibly dead - and that the police suspect he had something to do with it. Despite not trusting him, Maggie agrees to pack her teenage brat of a daughter off to Los Angeles to stay with her aunt, and go with Thane to Denver to dig into Marquise's life to solve the mystery of her disappearance.

I know I vowed never to read another book by Lisa Jackson after the truly atrocious double-whammy of "Left To Die" and "Chosen To Die", but I happened to already own this (purchased at a sale quite cheaply), so I figured I had to get it out the way. While not nearly as awful as those previously mentioned books, it's still not very good. There is very little plot to speak of here, and all suspects are introduced so briefly that we don't get to know anything about them, so we don't really care if they had anything to do with Marquise's disappearance anyway. A fair amount of time is spent with Maggie's daughter Becca, but there's no point behind it. She's never in any danger and has no impact on the central mystery. She should have been packed off to Los Angeles and stayed there, not to be heard from for the rest of the book. That would have been nice, as she was quite an odious character.

The romance angle is typically overwrought and melodramatic, though at least partly believable. A lengthy flashback - that does nothing to illuminate the central mystery, mind you - shows how Maggie and Thane first fell in love, and the circumstances that broke them apart. Therefore, the tension between them in the present doesn't feel as forced as it might have done. You do have to wade through a lot of "I can't trust him/her!" to get to anything interesting, though. The explanation behind the mystery is very pat and silly, and the villian's motivation ill-defined at best. There is no way to figure out the answer to the mystery - the revelation is through a completely random plot development raised late in the book. Look at it this way - if converted into film/TV form, this would barely take up an hour-long television show. It's that thin. A look inside the book reveals this was originally published in 1998. Even more than a decade ago, Jackson was writing plotless drivel. This hasn't done much to sway me from my decision to no longer read her books.

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