Feb 22 2008
Dear Ms. Grady:
I thought that I had read you before and that you were jmc’s secret pleasure which was why I bought this one. Unfortunately, this was a case of mixed up names. I was thinking of Robyn Donald but must have fixated on Robyn, forgetting the last name. It’s not the first time, I’ve gotten authors’ names mixed up and it won’t be the last.
Donna Wilks is a psychologist who does work for the criminal justice in Sydney including giving profiles of accused individuals. She is appointed by the courts to be an impartial party.
Tate Bridges, Australian broadcasting mogul, is thrilled when Donna is assigned to his recently arrested brother’s case. He comes to a fundraising party to seduce Donna into giving his brother a favorable report. Bridges is not shy about the fact that he’ll use whatever power and influence he has to game the system.
Donna and Tate were engaged five years ago but Donna broke it off after realizing that she would always come second to Tate’s business ambitions. Tate begins by blackmailing Donna into giving a positive report. He bought a story of an unhappy former client of Donna’s and airing it could potentially harm her career. If she goes along and gives his brother a positive report, he’ll kill the story.
Now, my eyebrows raised a bit here because this implies that no one else in Sydney has any investigatory chops and that Tate’s media empire is the only one that could possibly publish this story. Not knowing Australian law, I went with it (along with other things) but I know if this was set in the US, the details of the law, reporting, and so forth would have bugged the ever loving crap out of me.
Apparently the former sexxoring was so good that even though Tate is blackmailing her, or attempting to, Donna is seduced by Tate’s purported charm. And it really must be some charm because the possibility of someone ruining one’s career never seems very sexy to me. Donna’s vaunted ethics also takes a slide when she agrees to go off on a weekend holiday with Tate and Tate’s brother so that Donna can get a good assessment of the brother’s behavior.
I thought the way that readers are treated to a series of scenes in which Tate’s brother could get all angry but remains calm and unruffled including getting something spilled on his shirt, his car getting scratched up, all in the space of a couple pages to show that he’s not a ‘roid rager was kind of an example of the contrived quality of the whole book.
I didn’t believe that Donna was a psychologist. She evinced no ability to analyze her own relationship with Tate let alone provide an impartial and unbaised report to the court about Tate’s brother. Donna had no backbone. Tate had no moral fiber. In all, the main characters weren’t appealing and their lack of appeal made me wonder what each saw in the other. C-