Sunday, April 10, 2005

Finally, A Break

Yeah, I'm still alive. Barely. Let me tell you - if you ever consider remodeling your bathroom four weeks before you expect to have a house full of guests, take my advice and just don't. I have tile chips in my hair, grout underneath my fingernails, and every muscle in my body aches. Not to mention the fact that my dreams are full of paint swatches and toilet paper fixtures. What happened to all of those dashing Navy SEALs?

Last night (after running to no less than four home improvement stores throughout the day) I gave myself the night off. I curled up on the couch and read a book, and it was bliss. Linda Howard's A Game of Chance, the last in her Mackenzie family series (or so she says) and a very nice bit of escape for someone knee-deep in thinset mortar compound. I liked Chance Mackenzie (the hero) and Sunny Miller (the plucky heroine), and really my one and only complaint is that the book ended too quickly with all of the major issues solved far too easily.

I don't think this is too much of a spoiler if I explain what I mean. In the story, Chance Mackenzie, an undercover operative of unknown origins, meticulously orchestrates to fall into the path of Sunny Miller, a woman whose father is a known terrorist leader. Chance is convinced that Sunny is in cahoots with her father and the key to finally bringing down the dangerous man. And if Sunny isn't the devil's-daughter-incarnate, at the very least she makes good bait to draw out Satan himself.

Apparently Chance has the same authority as God, because he manages to have the entire airline industry alter their commercial flight plans so that Sunny will be forced to accept his gallant offer to fly her to Seattle in time for her to deliver a parcel, thereby saving herself from being fired from her courier job. And I'm not sure what airline school Chance attended that taught him how to fake a fuel pump malfunction so he can "crash land" in the middle of a deep, inescapable canyon, but that's exactly what he does. All of this, of course, part of his scheme to get Sunny to trust him enough to spill her deepest family secrets and maybe give him a little nookie as a bonus.

Sunny, for her part, is terrified of her father and has spent her entire life running and hiding so as to avoid the man's clutches. Even so, she falls hook, line and sinker for Chance's act, including that bonus nookie. After only two days of good Mackenzie loving, she 'fesses up that Daddy Dearest is evil and she's been a fugitive since the day she was born.

Chance is happy to learn that Sunny is innocent because of course he's developed "feelings" for her. Unfortunately those feelings don't go deep enough for him to want to give up the idea of using her as live bait to flush out Daddy Terrorist.

Long story short, Sunny learns that basically every word out of Chance's mouth since she'd met him had been a lie. Chance - to his credit - doesn't try to offer excuses or apologies because he knows Sunny's right to think he's an incredible bastard.

Thus comes to my disappointment with the ending. Now, without reading the story, I'm sure you can imagine that Sunny has major trust issues. And the fact that she trusted Chance as much as she did was a big deal. So wouldn't you imagine that after learning how Chance had used her so completely, she'd be kind of just a little bit sort of pissed off?

She was, yes.

And wouldn't you imagine that after 29 years of not trusting people plus having just been royally burned by the first man you dared to trust would make you just a teeny tiny bit wary of ever trusting anyone ever again, especially the untrustworthy man?

Well...she wasn't.

I think it took her all of a week before all was forgiven. And this wasn't a week full of Chance groveling or begging for her to forgive him.

It just left such a bad taste for me, because up until that last few pages, I'd really enjoyed the book. But I felt like LH decided she needed to tie things up and move on or perhaps she'd hit the magic word count or something so she sold out one of her main character's primary personality traits so she could wash her hands of the whole thing.

And the thing is, the first chapter was this major in-depth scene of Chance interacting with his brother, Zane, and Zane's daughter, Nick. I mean, it went on for so long I kinda started to wonder why I had to read so much about little Nick's "pwetty wittle shoes".

I still liked this book. I guess I just wish LH might have cut down the pointless Chance/Nick interaction and shifted that hunk of word-count to the end so Sunny and Chance might have found a resolution that actually rang true to the enormity of the conflict between them.

Okay, back to tiling...


Anonymous said...

Hmmm... I think I would have given up on that book by the end of chapter 1! Forget the convenient ending - there are way too many plot contrivances and conveniences in there for my liking. :p Now, I've just finished reading Jo Beverly's A Most Unsuitable Man... yummy! ;)

Sorry that we're giving you so much work and stress, though! :(

Wendy said...

Ok, not an actual post related comment, but where the heck are you? You are missed.