REVIEW: Take Me Tonight by Roxanne St. Claire
Dear Ms. St. Claire:
I availed myself of the Simon & Schuster early ebook release program and snagged the ebook version of Take Me Tonight (Bullet Catchers, No 3) a few weeks ago. This week, the print version makes its way into bookstores. I had enjoyed the previous Bulletcatcher books. Unfortunately this novel required one to make an incredible suspension of disbelief. I tried to make that leap but ended up falling into a crater of implausibility that was too large for me to escape.
Sage Valentine is an investigative reporter whose best friend and roommate supposedly committed suicide after a fantasy kidnapping/sex experience run by Take Me Tonight. Keisha was a member of the Blizzards dance team and as part of a bonding experience, all the dance members have to be kidnapped and then rescued. This is all orchestrated by a company called Take Me Tonight. As part of the package, the participant who gets rescued can have sex with the rescuer. Or not.
Sage is convinced that Keisha did not kill herself and tries to investigate Take Me Tonight. Despite her vaunted investigative reporting skills, Sage gets nowhere and she seeks help from her Aunt Lucy Sharpe who runs the vaunted Bullet Catchers, a security and bodyguard firm. Lucy checks out Take Me Tonight and swears to Sage that it is legit. Sage won’t give it up. Knowing this, Lucy sends out her most faithful employee, Johnny Christiano, to pretend to be a rescuer/prostitute from Take Me Tonight so that Sage doesn’t run into any harm. Lucy saved Johnny from the mob and he’ll do anything for her except keep his hands off her niece. While Sage is concerned about Johnny’s status as a, well, john, he’s too irresistible for her.
Sage is supposed to be a great investigative reporter but the skills shown were weak. For example, Sage wants to interview the dance team, but stonewalled by Glenda, the woman in charge of the dance team. When Sage does get the chance to asks questions, she clearly veers into dangerous waters in front of Glenda which puts her access to the team in jeopardy. Why Sage just didn’t seek out the dancers during their off time was never explained, even after the point was made that these women had other jobs and time which Glenda did not control. Another example was that Sage has some suspicions about Johnny’s background but when confronted with some evidence which could reveal truths, Sage just ignores it. I was never convinced that Sage had any skill in being an investigative reporter.
Johnny’s character seemed very flat. You tried to make him more dimensional by giving him great cooking talent, but I never felt like that added anything to the story. I.e., what did his great cooking talent have anything to do with his mob past, his current bodyguarding or the plotline of the story?
Much of Take Me Tonight rests on the suspense of the dancers being subject to this kidnapping plus sex routine. Without detailing the plot behind it and thus spoiling it for the readers, the purpose of the kidnapping was transparent. Further, the success of such a plot rested on the silence of all the Blizzard members. I simply could not believe that not one dancer would take this opportunity to grab her fifteen minutes of fame by exposing such an operation.
Overall, I thought the story was unbelievable, flat, and lacking in the heat that was a strength in the previous two stories in this series. While it does have action and the requisite rescuer hero which appeals to many a reader, this one failed to engage. C-.