REVIEW: Miles to Go by Connie Bailey
Dear Ms. Bailey:
Thanks so much for writing a novel that could be used as a writing manual entitled How Not to Write a Romance. It’s an invaluable resource for all other romance authors out there. It must have taken considerable time and unknown talent to include so many stereotypes, mistakes, crushed conventions, and sheer bad writing as examples, or maybe as warnings, to other authors.
I was particularly impressed with the character list:
- The gay cop who tries to prove himself by going undercover, without any authorization from his superiors, as the bodyguard and right-hand man of a new mob boss.
- His Latina partner who uses so much Spanish slang and cursing, her dialogue is almost unreadable.
- The crime boss whose evilitude is obvious because he’s a sadist! Of course, because you know about those dirty sadists! And he’s British, so automatically more evil!
- The stunningly beautifully gorgeous rent boy who is the crime boss’s boyfriend. He’s fuckable! And defiant! Lonely! And out for revenge! He fucks anyone who asks. Except for the gay cop. Even though they Lurrve each other instantly! He’s got an awful horrible background that’s revealed in pointless info-dump, rather than through subtle hints and clues throughout text. But, Oh! So fuckable!
- The huge, loyal, yet two-timing bodyguards.
- The other mob boss with a heart of gold and a really cute nephew.
- The savior cop with a heart of gold whose memory is inexplicably dragged up in the final third of the novel.
- The ruthless sidekick who inexplicably shows up half way through the novel as an alibi for the crime boss.
- The ridiculous skater gang that show up inexplicably half way through.
- The other undercover cop who inexplicably shows up….well, you get the point.
Extra points, by the way, for introducing so many characters so late in the novel. I get the impression that they’re actually a planned part of the back story, but you just don’t manage to mention them until late in the story.
Double extra points for so many plot points that require super-suspension of disbelief:
- The unauthorized undercover work.
- The cops’ apparently close and personal relationship with the mob boss with a heart of gold. He may have a heart of gold, but he’s definitely still a mob boss.
- The instant connection the gay cop and the rent boy feel that “felt so right on an almost molecular level.”
- The unsafe sex everyone has.
- The fact that the rent boy has oral and anal sex with everyone except the gay cop.
- The fact that the gay cop goes around killing random gang members without worrying about repercussions.
- The completely manufactured “conflict” between gay cop and rent boy after the plot tension seems over, a conflict that seems completely contradictory to cop’s entire previous character and actions
And congratulations on hitting every cliche in romance writing by someone who doesn’t understand what makes a good romance:
- All the conflict is manufactured by the “suspense” plot, rather than the relationship between the main characters, who instantly fall into lust and love and perfect harmony.
- Sex with anyone by one of the heroes must make it a romance!
- Lust=Twu Wuv, naturally.
- Instant and perfect understanding between the heroes, until the Big Manufactured Character-Contradicting Conflict.
- The power of the hero’s Mighty Wang (TM SBTB) curing all sexual dysfunctions!
Super bonus for covering the biggest m/m romance cliches:
- Gay men are insatiable.
- Any hole will do and any sex must be hot.
- Retaining the gender roles of TSTL heroine who needs saving from herself and big strong cop who does the saving.
I started the book because I’ve immensely enjoyed other books from Dreamspinner Press and because I liked the set-up for this book. I kept reading the book to try to figure out if it could get any worse, and I was never disappointed. Well done!
But as I said, its future use as a what-not-to-do manual is invaluable.
The book can be purchased in ebook format from Dreamspinner Press.