Friday, February 17, 2012

Merciless by Diana Palmer

Author: Diana Palmer
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of Publication: July 2011
Can she convince a man to let down his defenses when he's set on guarding his heart?
"Tall, dark and eligible?"

That's all that matters to the women of Jacobsville when it comes to handsome and aloof FBI agent Jon Blackhawk. But if it were up to him, he would never settle down. Luckily, Jon has the best gatekeeper: his efficient and reliable assistant, Joceline Perry. Without her help, he'd be at the mercy of husband hunters--but the more he comes to rely on her, the more he notices how invaluable she really is... 

While Joceline can't deny that her boss is attractive, as a single mother with responsibilities she's determined to be professional. But when Jon is accosted by a criminal seeking revenge, she comes to his aid--fueling the spark that is growing between them. 

As the attempts on Jon's life increase, Joceline stands by his side. But when the smoke clears, will the man who avoided love realize that all he ever needed was right there all along?

Let me first say to publishers out there, PLEASE start telling us readers when a book is part of a series.  This book was not clearly not a stand alone novel.  There were so many references to books that came before this one that it was hard to follow it at times.  There were also too many characters and it was hard to keep them straight. I didn't even have a hope of figuring out any of the mystery because I felt like I was missing too much back story.  But I digress...

Honestly, I'm not sure why I finished this book.  I have never read a book by this author before, so I thought I would try it out.  When it was finished, all I could think was how bad it was.  I think I rolled my eyes after every chapter. How bad was this book?  Let me count the ways.  The heroine, Joceline, has a son and the father is not in the picture. The book was written in 2011.  After having numerous characters mention that she has a child out of *gasp* wedlock, I had to check back to make sure this wasn't a re-issue.  Really?  Do people really care in this day and age? I was surprised that this was such a huge issue in a book written in this time period. The identity of the father was so obvious from the start that I can't understand why he didn't figure it out along with the rest of the world.  Talk about clueless. The way he figured it out was very giggle worthy because it was so ridiculous.

I really feel like this one could have been a short story.  There were so many unnecessary and boring conversations that they started to feel like filler to make the book longer.  Most of them did nothing to advance the mystery or love story and really should have been edited out. That also includes all of the pop culture references.  Nothing ages a book more than references to popular games or TV shows of the time in which the book is written.  In my opinion, this makes it harder for it to survive the test of time. Also, the characters kept adding in small facts about things during "casual" conversations.  They started to sound like walking encyclopedias.  Who does that?

Let us not forget the characters.  I think Markey (the son who is 4, yet acts and sounds like he is 10) was the only one who really had any personality.  The mother, Cammie, was such a witch.  Her hatred for Joceline was way over the top.  When it is finally revealed why she felt this way toward Joceline, I was puzzled.  I felt the reason should make her more sympathetic and understanding toward Joceline. Also, I had a hard time believing that a federal agent would allow his own mother to verbally abuse his administrative assistant.  Especially when, later in the book, John and Jocelyn have a conversation about bullying. Isn't that just what his mother is doing to her? John was just way too passive for my taste.  He wasn't even a beta male in my eyes. 

I think I should stop my rant now.  Trust me, I could go on and on.  I always try to find something positive in a book.  So, I will say that the twist at the end was a nice touch. Also, some of the banter between the Hero and Heroine was amusing.  It just wasn't enough to save the book for me. Will I read another by her?  Probably, but I think I'll start back at the beginning.  30+ (?) books back! *sigh*

1 comment:

Espana said...

cement subplot. Unfortunately, this book didn't have much of a spark for me. The characters lacked the sprited back and forth that most of Palmer's books contain--in fact, the dialogue was pretty sub-par with most of the historical details sounding like they were copied straight from an encyclopedia instead of flowing from conversation--and the hero wasn't even upset at the ubiquitous secret that the heroine was keeping from him. The denoument had less to do with the development of the couple's relationship and more with wrapping up the somewhat lame subplot started in Harley Fowler's book and continued in Kilraven's.