Drive Me Crazy
Drive Me Crazy did. I love auto racing, and figured a romance set during a classic car auto rally featuring a woman mechanic as the heroine would be fun and different. If only the story had made sense and the characters had been halfway sensible, this would have been a lot of fun. But they weren’t, and reading this book was the equivalent of watching My Mother the Car.
Cade Nyland wants to win the SunCoast Run, a four-day race across Florida, as a tribute to his grandfather. TZ Blake wants to win it so she can keep her auto repair shop open. They meet when Cade is a judge in a hot buns contest which TZ entered in hopes of winning first prize – she really needs the money and she has a nice set of buns. They notice each other. When Cade’s car develops a gash in the brake line, he and TZ join up and decide to split the money if they win. He will be the driver in her 1967 Mustang (the author annoyingly refers to it as the ‘Stang), while she will be the mechanic and navigator. We also meet TZ’s friend Kimmie, a totally hot virgin (she wears white thongs) who has hooked up with Rhett Evans, a handsome rich guy whom she plans to marry. Then there’s Mick Wilcox and his mechanic Skinner. Mick is fat, loud, hairy, smelly and obnoxious. Rounding out the rally is Marisa Ashton-Lord, a botoxed, anorectic professional trophy wife who has her eye on Cade. She drives a pink Cadillac and travels with an entourage of boy toys.
If you want to understand how a rally works, you’ll have to Google for information since you get nothing coherent from this book. After reading it, I’d guess rally racing consists of frantic driving, random accidents, and lots of partying and hooking up. I’m not looking for a how-to book, but it would be nice to understand just what a rally is and after I finished this, I was clueless.
Now for the characters. Cade is a bad boy from a rich family who lets his brothers do all the work while he runs around the country racing in rallies. He has the requisite good looks, black clothes, and hot body of all self respecting bad boys – but he is entirely devoid of charm. The author several times describes how he ties his hair back from his head with a piece of leather and flexes his tattoo. That and his eight inches serve as character development. By the way, his real name is the very feminine sounding Cadence, a girly name that I thought kind of took a few inches off his character.
TZ is silly. She is up to her eyebrows in debt on her repair shop and the prize money from the rally is the only thing standing between her and bankruptcy, so the logical thing would be to try hard to win. But TZ doesn’t tell Cade that she has no sense of direction and instead seems to navigate by some mysterious seventh sense known only to her. The only reason they get where they are supposed to go is that her Mustang is haunted by her aunt Elise (no I am not making this up – the car is haunted). Not only does TZ not know how to read a map, she fixes her competitor’s cars when they suffer breakdowns. When they are in the middle of a big push to win a stage in the rally and TZ insists that they stop to mow and straighten a cemetery (no, I am not making that up either), I lost it, and the book suffered a big dent to the cover when it hit the floor.
I think Drive Me Crazy was supposed to be zany and fun but it badly missed the mark. The plot was a mess, the characters were irritating and one semi-decent love scene could not redeem it. Kate Angell’s first book, Calder’s Rose, while not perfect, had flashes of humor. Authors are supposed to improve over time, but Angell appears to be driving the wrong way.