Feb 29 2008
Dear Ms. Dimon:
I mentioned before that your trademark seemed to be really great dialogue, snappy flirtatious banter. This book was no different. The problem was that while it had your trademark dialogue, it just had too much of it. I guess there really is too much of a good thing.
Gabrielle Pearson thought that she was developing a great relationship with her geeky, but hot, new boyfriend until he dumps her with the lame ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ line. Reed Larkin thinks he’s doing Gabby a big favor. He’s been assigned to monitor her activities to see if she is involved in anything nefarious. To do so, he’s gotten close, determined she is clean and decides that to be involved with her anymore would endanger her life. Reed would really like nothing better than to take Gabby home and make sweet love to her, he decides to break it off ‘for her own good.’
Thus begins the pattern of Reed’s entire engagement with Gabby. He is always making decisions which he feels are in Gabby’s best interests. I found this terribly grating and while Gabby purportedly did as well, she took very little action to deter it. But more on that later.
The book is told mostly in dialogue. There is little introspection that is not played out in dialogue between the characters. The emphasis, too, in the dialogue is on smart, witty rejoinders. While the comebacks were relentless, I found my attention drifting.
Part of this was that the setup seemed thin. Reed had to get close to Gabby to find out what her involvement was with Benson, the son of a known criminal. Gabby, however, had her own reasons for her involvement with Benson that Reed didn’t know about. It was hard to see how Reed was an effective agent when Gabby’s real life was so hidden to him. Further, it was hard to see Gabby as effective when Reed was so easily able to deceive her. Even at the end when the motivation behind the trouble Reed was in played out, I found myself shaking my head in confusion and non belief.
While there was strong and concerted effort to place females in superior roles–both Reed and Gabby’s supervisors were females–the emotional and mental dynamic between Reed and Gabby was very traditional. Even Gabby recognizes in the very latter part of the book where she notes that Reed is always treating her like the helpless female. He does and it is insulting. But Gabby never really seems to take charge. She talked about it but she never did.
For example, Gabbyand Reed are with Gabby’s client. Reed pretty much takes over the meeting. Gabby is fuming internally and chews him out afterward but made no effort during the meeting to take control. It showed her to have no competence. And she didn’t. She didn’t do anything. She talked a big game but never delivered.
This book has a couple of the best opening scenes in a contemporary but all the talk and no action left me disappointed. It is a sexy book with two individuals that I wanted to like, but it failed to deliver an emotional impact. C