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REVIEW: You Don’t Know Jack by Erin McCarthy

Dear Ms. McCarthy:

You Don't Know JackJay, the poor misguided fool who thought she wanted to be a lawyer and now who cannot read for pleasure because all she does is read opinions, really enjoys your books and has been trying to get me to read them for months now. You Don’t Know Jack was an ebook and I jumped at the chance to try you out. Soooo glad I did.

If you allow me to pigeonhole you a bit, I would characterize your voice as Meg Cabot all grown up. Your characters are all very nice. Usually that is something that drives me nuts but in your book, as with Cabot’s, I end up liking the characters in spite of myself. Case in point is your heroine. Jamie Peters is a social worker bent on saving the world. She specializes in rehabilitating convicts and still believes that she can effectuate change. Her need to fix things bleeds into her personal life and she is always taking on lost causes, making them into perfect boyfriends for the next girl. (this reminds me of a Jayne Ann Krentz heroine). This doesn’t seem to bother Jamie because she hasn’t loved any of her exes. She really doesn’t want to fall in love given her father’s abandonment of her family when she was young but she’s open. When one of her projects, a transsexual, psychic former felon, tells her she is going to meet her soul mate soon in a food related incident, she finds herself checking out the other shoppers at the local market, feeling up one melon too many.

The psychic also tells her that she should not let a deception stand in the way of being with her soulmate. Jamie hates deceptions. She hates liars. She would never be with someone who lies.

Jack is a day trader who made it big and got out of the rat race while he was still young. But being retired and in your 30s has major drawbacks such as boredom. In reviewing grant requests for his family’s charitable foundation, he finds that his sister’s roommate’s Jamie has submitted a grant proposal. Unfortunately, the financials accompanying the proposal reek of SEC violations. He decides to check Jamie out and basically begins stalking her. One day he plans to bump into her “accidentally” and strike up a conversation in hopes that this will lead to more information about her grant proposal. Jack falls for Jamie, almost immediately, and proceeds to lie out of his ass to get her to fall for him.

There are some big flaws in this book such as Jack’s motivation for following Jamie and trying to investigate her. There is a sexual marathon that takes place in the middle of the book and goes on and on and on. I couldn’t decide if you have to have a certain percentage of your story full of sex else it doesn’t qualify as a Brava or what. Additionally, your characters tend to be either nice or evil. They are fairly one dimensional. The flaws don’t hamper my enjoyment of your story. It was an easy, light hearted read with an oddly placed sexual marathon. I enjoyed all of it, in spite of myself. B.

Best regards,


This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Kristie(J)
    Oct 17, 2006 @ 08:47:14

    I tried one Erin McCarthy book since Jay our budding lawyer, loves her so much but it was only meh for me. But I like the plotline of this one and I’m more than willing to give it a try – once it comes out in MM that is. I don’t want to gamble on a trade size and even though I’ve tried some ebooks – they just aren’t really it for me. I don’t want too big a library in them. And I don’t think our libary stocks trade sized books.

  2. Keishon
    Oct 17, 2006 @ 09:42:52

    Yep, I’ve got one of her books in my stacks somewhere. She just doesn’t jump at me. Most of her books are these huge trade size paperbacks that I refuse to buy but since it’s in ebook – hmmmmm. Maybe.

  3. Rosario
    Oct 17, 2006 @ 09:47:54

    I had the same experience Kristie did. The book I tried was nice enough, but not really enough to have me running out to buy more by her.

  4. Karen Scott
    Oct 17, 2006 @ 14:23:17

    I like her books, they’re usually easy to read and fun. Flawed, but not so badly that I don’t enjoy them. Her characters are fairly one-dimensional though, but sometimes, all I want is an easy read. I’ll pick up a Karin Slaughter book if I’m in the need for complex, and multi-layered stories. (g)

  5. Keishon
    Oct 17, 2006 @ 23:32:25

    I'll pick up a Karin Slaughter book if I'm in the need for complex, and multi-layered stories. (g)

    YES! *pump fist in air* Ah, such excellent taste and may I say that I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes all you need is brain candy. Nothing wrong with that.

  6. Jay
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 23:16:17

    Jay, the poor misguided fool who thought she wanted to be a lawyer and now who cannot read for pleasure because all she does is read opinions, really enjoys your books and has been trying to get me to read them for months now.

    Hey!! I think I resent being talked about without so much as a heads up im! And for what its worth, I read this for review and while I enjoyed it, as I enjoy all EM books, this wasn’t one of her best efforts. Did you read the Pregnancy Test? I thought it would squick me out but I really liked it!

  7. Jane
    Oct 20, 2006 @ 11:43:10

    I think that there is always a time for the light hearted, breezy read. Jay – the trackback was your heads up. Not my fault your head is in the books.

  8. RachaelfromNJ
    Dec 18, 2008 @ 16:25:56

    This was the first Erin McCarthy book that I read and I loved it. It was just a sweet feel good kind of book. She’s one of my favorite authors now.

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