Two on the Run
Two on the Run is the Superromance debut of Silhouette Intimate Moments author Margaret Watson. With its heavy emphasis on action, it would be easy to mistake this for an Intimate Moments. Too bad it’s impossible to mistake it for a good book.
Eleanor Perkins is a children’s librarian. Think about all the usual clichés about romance novel librarians and you’ll know all you need to about Eleanor. Her character consists of those clichés and nothing more. She’s sad and lonely. She wears her hair in a prim little bun. She works late because she goes home alone. One night she leaves the library an hour after closing and is accosted by a man with a gun. He orders her to get into her car with him. She makes a token attempt to escape. He catches her. And they’re off and running.
The man is police detective Mike Reilly. He uncovered police corruption in the department, and now the dirty cops all want him dead. And then zzzzzzzzzzzz…
Oh, sorry. That’s what happened to me while reading the book. What happens to the characters is that they do what the title indicates and run. And run and run and run. And then they run some more. There’s no plot. Just running.
This was an impulse buy I chose because I liked the cover and it looked action packed. It was action-packed all right. It’s all empty action with no characters, no emotion, no drama, and no discernable plot. It’s a story on autopilot. The two vaguely defined people who pass for a hero and heroine run for almost 300 pages. But there’s nothing to them or the suspense plot, and the romance is unbelievable.
The author is simply going through the motions, except she doesn’t develop the characters or the story enough, so the motions don’t really make sense. After Michael kidnaps Ellie, he takes her to an abandoned warehouse to retrieve some evidence he left there. She tries to escape and falls through the floor. When he goes to save her, her hand touches him. He has this reaction: “Desire surged through him with a blast of heat. He wanted her hands on him, wanted to feel her touching him.” This is less than twenty pages into the story and they’ve known each other less than a half hour, so this overblown response comes out of nowhere. Who on earth gets turned on at that moment in those circumstances? Later that night they get a room in a rundown motel. Naturally there’s only one bed, which they must share. Ellie wakes up the next morning to find herself rubbing up against his erection. His response is to utter the corniest line possible: “No, I don’t have a gun in my pocket. That must mean I’m happy to see you.” Evidently she’s so overcome by this witty banter that passionate groping ensues.
Nothing about this attraction is believable. It pops up at the oddest moments, completely without motivation. These are two of the most boring, least interesting characters I’ve found in a romance lately. Even by the end of the book I barely knew them and they certainly didn’t know each other any better to make a love story believable. I had no idea what attracted them to each other and the author didn’t bother to shine any light on the issue. As for the suspense plot, what is there to say? The bad guys are shadowy figures who don’t really qualify as characters since they barely exist in the story. They chase the main characters. That’s the extent of who they are.
There’s nothing wrong with the basic story idea of a man on the run forced to take a woman hostage, with romance ensuing. It can be, and has been, done well. But here it’s done in the most pedestrian, clichéd, boring fashion possible. This book is just tired, and reading it made me tired. The best thing I can say about it is that the writing is competent. Also, this book is a surefire cure for insomnia. Because honestly? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…