Tuesday, October 4

Into the Night by Janelle Denison

Book 1 in The Reliance Group series


Nathan Fox is going undercover to save a young girl, Angela, from being sexually abused and potentially sold into prostitution. However as he begins working up his case he meets this sexy reporter, Nicole, at a single’s meet-n-greet – and the night ends in some steamy, no-holds-barred sex. But she’s gone before the morning is over and Nathan is left with only Nicole’s hot memory burning him up. A few weeks later Nathan sees Nicole at an art exhibit, and is surprised and infuriated to learn that she’s decided to go undercover on his mission, trying to get an expose on Sloane, the virtually-untouchable and incredibly-wealthy man who kidnapped Angela. Can the two work together to save the girl and keep their passion under wraps?

The major problems I had with this book: Tell not show, poor characterization and contradictory nature, Stilted and unnatural prose and dialogue, and poor plot/suspense development. Surprisingly, the book was not so bad that I had to stop reading it – I sort of wallowed. I was stuck in it, like one gets stuck in mud. Not a good feeling or a good image.

The author drove me insane with her redundancy. The way a character acts is supposed to display what they’re thinking and feeling. Several times the author would write about Nicole smiling and laughing – clear indications that she’s enjoying whatever is happening. That's fine - that's good. But then the author has to, redundantly, point out “Nicole was enjoying their witty banter”. That line came up WAY too often in the book – often enough that I can recall seeing it, specifically, several times. There were a lot of examples of redundancy in the book, as well as that ‘tell not show’ attitude that detracted from my reading experience.

The characters were stereotypical, lacking the depth that could have led to any real emotional connections between them. I was unable to believe the love, trust, and developing intimacy between Nathan and Nicole. It was more ‘BAM we like one another and the sex is great’, less ‘Wow, I really enjoy getting to know you’. The author didn’t back up her statements of intimacy with evidence. I never felt or believed the romance of the story – I kinda read it and scoffed like “Yeah, right.” There was a lot of sex (way more than I was expecting, actually) but as most every romance reader knows sex does not equal romance or intimacy.

The unnatural prose and stilted dialogue are self-explanatory – the characters sometimes (NOT always) talked like talking cardboard stereotypes. Laughed like them too. The villain was unoriginal in his insanity (I hate that. Can’t we ever have a sane, smart villain?) as was his assistant being crazy-in-love with him. Oldest trick in the book = unoriginal. In this case, there was nothing defining to make it unique, and therefore I was unimpressed.I expect a lot from the villains in my romantic suspense books, especially when there is so much focus on the villain.

Finally, the plot had the same unoriginal quality that the prose and characters shared. It wasn’t terribly suspenseful – I definitely was never on the edge of my seat. I was a passive observer, occasionally skipping passages because I was bored and wanted things to get a move on. Suspense was not omnipresent throughout the story and I kept waiting for something of interest to happen. Occasionally there was a very welcome change of pace, but for the most part the book was lazy and slow. Not good for a book in the romantic suspense category. Overall, while there were a few isolated scenes in the book that I enjoyed, the book clearly did not earn my overwhelming favor and while it could possibly squeak by with a C but is getting a C-.

Favorite Quote:

“Good morning.” (Nicole)
“Yeah, it is.” He slid into her with a sleek, heavy thrust that made them both groan in pleasure. “And it’s about to get a whole lot better,” he said, and proceeded to make good on his promise.

“Sexy”ness rating: Lots of hots

Overall Rating: C-

Bottom Line: The book was interesting enough, but lacked momentum at times making it a slow, dull read at times. The characters, while developed alright individually, were borderline stereo-typical and had forced interactions with one another. The intimacy of relationships and trusts felt unnatural and forced. The prose was stiff, the dialogue occasionally stilted – while not bad, Into the Night is not a stunner.

Pages: 346
Published: March 29, 2011
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Contemporary

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