REVIEW: The Italian by Lisa Marie Rice
Dear Ms. Rice:
I’m a big fan of your work and willingly paid $4.99 for this novella despite its brevity. While I enjoyed reading it, the novella was more of an interlude than a complete story. Stefano Leone is a judge working to bring one of Italy’s strongest mobsters to his doom. For three years, Stefano has shunned everything from family to women in order to pursue Salvatore Serra. Jamie McIntyre brings a gift to Stefano from her grandfather, a Harvard law professor of international law. Without invoking her grandfather’s name, Jamie would have never made it past the guards who hunt protect Stefano as he hunts Serra not to mention the personal barriers erected by Stefano.
When she does meet Stefano, his first thought is “If the woman is bait sent to lure me to my death, my enemy has chosen well.” Their courtship is brief but powerful and takes place almost entirely in half sentences and physical lust that is briefly sated. The love scenes are really well done and earthy. Stefano and Jamie’s entire bodies and minds are caught up in the act but the scenes are also classic Lisa Marie Rice with Stefano have a hard on that nearly knocks the dinner table over.
But beyond the love scenes, there isn’t much substance in the story. The plot holes are huge. If there is indeed a mobster being brought to justice, the fact that the families of the police officers aren’t threatened in any fashion was odd. The failure of Stefano to anticipate fully the danger Jamie would be in after he takes a vacation with her placed Stefano in the Too Stupid to Live category.
The brevity of the story can be used to excuse some of the plot problems, but while I may have been able to buy into the immediacy of the couple’s love, I needed a stronger story around it to make the entirety of the story work. At the abrupt end I felt unfulfilled and a little cheated. I can’t really recommend this book (particularly at the price) to any one but a die hard LMR fan, which I am, but not every one at Dear Author is. C-