REVIEW: Crazy Love by Tara Janzen
Dear Ms. Janzen:
Work has been kicking my ass and your book was to be my reward. Some fucking reward. Your Steele Street/SDF series has been a fun and sexy ride up until now. In this latest entry, your fun and sex took a back seat to cheesecloth plots, inconsistent characters, and half finished ideas. To further sink the ship, you employed an irritating literary technique that took place in the first six chapters:
I mean, seriously, that is some stupid shit writing there. Was it is supposed to be some stylized way in which the hero tended to think in lists?
Skeeter Bang is a street girl that Hawkins aka Superman saved and brought to Steele Street. In the previous books much is made of Baby Bang’s almost precognitive ability to “know” things. This woo woo stuff that you made such a big deal of in previous books was entirely glossed over here. Skeeter Bang’s loss of paranormal ability was just one of the many backstories that you changed, dismissed or ignored in Crazy Love.
Skeeter Bang and Dylan Hart are an age challenged couple with Skeeter barely 21 and Dylan Hart some inappropriate age older. I mean, you never come out and say how old Dylan is (I did a search for it on my ebook), but you have him go on and on about how she is too young so I am assuming that this is a May/December romance. The plot is that Dylan has to go to Washington DC to steal a document from a Senator. Skeeter is assigned as his backup/partner over Dylan’s protests.
The entirety of how the stealing is done; how the two escape from trouble, how the bad guys are thwarted, is told to us in summary fashion. I.e., Dylan got in and stole the document. Dylan and Skeeter escape. Dylan and [insert character] went and got the bad guy. If you want to skimp on the suspense plot then, Geezus, make the rest of the book worthwhile.
Dylan longs for Skeeter but has schziophrenic reasons for not acting on his feelings. First it apeared that it was because she was too young. Then it appeared to be because he didn’t want to hurt her because he would eventually leave her. Then it appeared to be because if he had sex with her (even though having sex with her would be worth more than even his last shred of integrity and that making love to her will be as close to heaven as he can get), he is sure that he won’t have any interest in her after that.
I was so tired by the 6th chapter of his “will he or won’t he” conflict. It was uninteresting. I reached the point that I wanted Dylan to either get it on or shoot himself to put the reader out of her misery. I don’t read these books for the ever changing characterizations, the endless car details or the flimsy suspense plot. I read it for the fun and the sex. THE FUN. THE SEX. Bring on the fun and the sex before I poke my eyes out. I do not want to read endless internal conflict about whether he should bone her or not. I mean, we all know he is going to bone her or they wouldn’t be in a fucking romance novel.
Unfortunately for me (and frankly for the rest of your readers), no boning takes place until chapter 20. I guess you must be tired of writing sex scenes because the two you wrote were virtually identical. Did you use the copy and paste feature? Perhaps you were struggling to finish the manuscript (5 books published in 2 years is tough) so you said, “what the hell, I’ll just use the sex scene from the previous chapter and none of my dumb readers will really catch on.” I do understand that this series is all about cars, but enough with the car sex. It is sexy and believable for people to have sex in places other than cars.
And the Travis story? PUHLEEZE. This is a guy who imprints women sexually to make them happy. He’s a peace loving man who all of a sudden talks and acts like every other guy at STEELE Street. Who’s a crack shot and can work the blade like Creed? Nope, not buying that lame horse.
And then. And THEN Travis monologues about his past women and how he is batting a zero less than zero but doesn’t bring up the character you addressed in the last novel. Do you need a flow chart or something? Remember Jane Linden? You made a big deal of her and Travis in Crazy Kisses. I remember several significant scenes involving Travis and Jane. But apparently those are meaningless because they didn’t serve to move the Crazy Kisses plot forward and they have nothing to do with Travis now. Why should I invest any emotion in these characters when they are throwaways? When the characters change from story to story?
When you, as an author, so completely ignore the world/character building that has gone on before in previous books, its as if you are saying to the reader a) I think you are stupid and won’t remember or b) don’t believe anything I write because it won’t have any impact later on down the road. How can I believe in your story if you keep changing the premise? I can’t. And I can’t buy into the fantasy anymore when the sex and fun are completely obliterated by the weak suspense, the ever changing characters, and the literary technique. It’s ironic that just last year I was all over the net proclaiming your praises. I think right now I would rather pull out my eyelashes one by one before reading another of the Steele Street series. Crazy Me.