REVIEW: No Escape by Shannon Butcher
Dear Ms. Butcher:
Jayne’s review of No Control got me interested in reading your books. Jayne isn’t the biggest fan of romantic suspense so her B- review of your book is a golden recommendation to me. But many of the things that bothered Jayne in her review of No Control bothered me in No Escape and with one scene in the middle of the book, the entire story went down the drain for me.
The basic plot of the story is this: The hero, Grant Kent, a former special forces guy going to work for a private investigative agency/protection agency/security firm, stops by a girl he once knew in foster care. He killed a man for her and he’s never forgotten how in the short amount of time that they were together he grew to care for her. (Killing a guy for a girl kind of imprints that girl on a guy’s mind, I would imagine).
Isabel Carson has recovered from her nightmarish childhood where she shared a foster home for a brief time with Grant Kent. Even though she has not seen him in 14 years, she sends him a note saying that she needs his help. He rushes to her side. She convinces him that some mad man is killing all the former foster children from their shared foster home. Isabel isn’t so concerned about her own safety but the safety of her 17 year old foster son and her former foster siblings. While Grant is in a hurry to get to his new job, he feels like he can’t leave Isabel just yet.
Jayne mentioned that No Control had little blow by blow violence. Not so in this book. There’s plenty of explicit violence including one scene that traumatizes a little girl. Generally this type of thing does not turn me off but as I have become a mother, I’ve been more sensitive to children in RS books. Other readers’ mileage may vary in this regard.
Jayne also mentioned that the heroine in No Control was a bit of a martyr. Isabel is like that as well. She’s not a very nuanced character. She’s a good person, wants to be a foster mom, and stays in touch with all of her former foster siblings. It’s not that these traits aren’t positive, it’s that she’s almost too good to be true to the extent that I wondered if birds sang as she stepped out of the house. She does tell off Grant at one point, but it wasn’t enough for me to see her as anything but a Snow White type of character (she did have long straight black hair too).
Moving on to Grant. Grant is a standard Special Forces dude. He’s strong and bad ass. He doesn’t think he’d make a good father and so no matter how much he wants Isabel, he won’t be sticking around because she wants all these kids and he’d be the suckiest dad ever. This does not stop him from taking the offerings of Isabel’s sweet body even while Isabel has a 17 year old kid in the house who is from a broken home, so broken he is in foster care. No matter, readers, the 17 year old kid knows what’s what and if Grant wants to play slip the sausage with Isabel, the 17 year old isn’t going to stand in their way. So anyway, every sex scene that took place while said kid was in the house made me slightly uncomfortable.
But even with those drawbacks, I thought that the story was decent. It had good suspense and it was very readable. Then I turned the page and read this scene which I suppose is technically spoilerish:
“His sun-streaked hair was a tousled mess, damp as if he’d just showered, and she was pretty sure the red smudge on his shirt was lipstick. . . .
“What have you done to me?” he demanded. Angry desperation glittered in his eyes, making them glow in contrast to his tanned skin.
She bumped into the kitchen counter and grabbed it to steady herself. “What are you talking about?”
“It’s not supposed to be like this,” he snareld. “I like women. Lots and lots of women. And Susan was really nice. Pretty. Busty as hell.” (side note: he picked up Susan a few hours ago at the grocery store).
Grant pressed his hands to the counter on either side of her body, caging her in place. “And she wanted me. What the hell have you done to me that keeps me from fucking a pretty, available woman who wants me?”
“I didn’t do anything.”
“You sure as hell did. You pushed me away.”
So Grant turns into a psycho and I think, given that the villian is also psychotic, that it is one too many psychos for the book. Sure, Isabel pushed pushed him away because he said he couldn’t be a dad, and she wants lots of foster kids. So she wasn’t up for the quickie screw and now it’s her fault? Good Lord!!!! run away Isabel, run away. Half the time Grant acts more immature than the 17 year old foster kid. He’s about the only one I ended up liking by the close of the book.
Sadly, Isabel, did not listen to my urgent warnings to flee Grant. Instead she ends up with a very Happy Ending. On the plus side, this book, while connected to previous Butcher novels, can easily stand alone. D