Though Crazy Cool moves along at a brisk and mostly satisfying pace, I can’t help but think how much better a book it could have been if the inner dialogue of all the characters was a shade less one-note. Still, anyone looking for an entertaining, over-the-top story featuring w-a-a—a-y larger than life (and not even remotely realistic) characters might well find enough here to keep them happy.
The second in author Tara Janzen’s The Mission series featuring mucho macho (and I really, really mean that) operatives for some kind of supersecret government paramilitary team, Crazy Cool tells the story of heiress Katya Dekker and operative Christian Hawkins. The two spent a passionate month together thirteen years earlier that came to a truly tragic ending when Christian was sent to a prison for a murder he didn’t commit. After serving two years for the crime, his conviction was overturned and Christian freed, even though the true killer still remains undiscovered.
To make matters even more problematic for the two, that long ago murder was connected to both Katya and her circle of privileged friends and she has always blamed herself for allowing poor boy Christian to be railroaded into a conviction.
The two meet again when, after working years to build her name as a leading dealer in high end art, Katya returns to her Denver home town to open a gallery. For reasons he can’t even begin to fathom, Christian is given the assignment by his bosses to act as a bodyguard at an elaborate charity art auction where he is stunned to discover that the person he is assigned to protect is none other than Katya – the women he mentally refers to as “Bad Luck”, which, I have to admit, seemed like a massive understatement to me.
When another murder occurs – one obviously tied to that long-ago killing – both Katya and Christian are forced to go on the run together as they work to find the murderer and discover the identity of the person sending mysterious – and threatening – messages to Katya.
While I certainly found Crazy Cool to be an easy and fast read and I really enjoyed the author’s breezy style, the story and characters themselves ultimately seemed more like walking fantasies – or caricatures, to use a less kind word – than real people. Katya is a breathtakingly beautiful, famous, brilliant, and mega-wealthy young woman who manages to wear a cute little red dress and strappy sandals when she’s on the run for her life. She also, quite understandably, has big time Issues involving her powerful Senator mother that are all resolved a bit too easily here. Christian is equally recognizable and strictly of the strong, stoic, uber-macho breed of special forces hero tortured by something in his past that we’ve all gotten to know a bit too well.
But, hey, tried and true when delivered in a readable, smart style can be fun – and I would have had a lot more of that if both Christian and Katya’s inner thoughts were a bit more varied and a bit less one-note. “She’s trouble,”, “geezus!”, and/or “kee-rist” figure in just about every single interior monologue Christian has multiple times – well, in addition to some heavy duty mental lusting. Katya muses multiple times about how much “trouble” Christian represents and, yes, also indulges in some heavy duty mental lusting. And, since there’s a secondary romance featuring fewer kee-rists, but just as much mental lusting, plus a thirdanary (not a word, but it should be) romance that moves along in the same manner, it all started to get more than a bit old. Not to even mention the fact that there are multiple – and I do mean multiple – POVs involving more characters than I’ve mentioned here, so keeping track of just who’s lusting after who at any given moment gets challenging.
As someone who didn’t read Crazy Hot, the first book in this series, I was able to follow along well enough, though I think there were some nuances I might have missed in that secondary romance. Still, Crazy Cool is ultimately one of those books it’s just not smart to overanalyze, especially since the pace doesn’t flag, the sex is hot, and the characters mostly likable (even if cute little red-dress-wearing heiresses in strappy sandals are probably my least favorite type of heroine). Quite honestly, this book didn’t blow me away, but readers who revel in breezy stories involving impossibly beautiful people in impossibly over-the-top situations might well enjoy it more than I did.