Edge of Midnight
I may have enjoyed Edge of Midnight by Shannon McKenna when I was a teenager. The book would have been passed around the lunch table and we would have giggled at the sex scenes, feeling very grown up and daring, even slightly shocked at the positions and the language. Now, many years later, I still snickered when I read it, but for the exact opposite reason: It all seemed rather juvenile.
Sean McCloud seems to have had his emotional/mental growth stunted at age 19 when his twin brother died. To blot out the memory of his loss, Sean spends the anniversary of the death indulging in drink and sex-capades. After a few years, you would think that he would realize that all his tactics get him is a hangover and possible STDs (no matter how many condoms he uses, nothing is foolproof.) Yet 15 years later, he awakens in bed with two women whose names he cannot remember and a raging hangover. This does not seem to stop him from contemplating sex with either of the woman (it really didn’t matter which) for he is thinking about, and is aroused by, another woman.
That woman is Liv Endicott. Not only did he lose his brother that day long ago, but also the supposed love of his life. He broke up with her in as cruel a manner as possible. To him it was for honorable reasons – he needed her to leave town because her life was in danger. And he still believes that garbage. Word has reached him that Liv’s life is endangered again, so he returns to his hometown to protect her.
The heroine also suffers from a lack of maturity. When Sean returns, she is in bed with him within hours, completely forgetting that he is the man who gave her major self-esteem issues and sent her into therapy. The discovery of this relationship ignites a fight between her and her mother. Liv, despite receiving crazy threatening letters, decides to run away from home (she is only 32 after all) and right into the clutches of the killer’s henchman. Sean is able to rescue her. He later confesses that he sent her away years ago to protect her. Liv is angry with him, a small point in her favor. Still, she agrees with to help Sean hunt down the killers.
When second minor female character basically does the same thing as Liv, walking blithely into the laboratory of a suspected mad man, I had to close the book. Could I finish it in the face of such blatant stupidity? But I persisted. The villain of the piece seems to be pretty typical of the Sadistic-Torturer-for-Fun-and-Profit breed, claiming all his experiments are for the betterment of science, medicine and mankind.
For a story that the guidelines would rate as hot, I personally found it to be rather cold. The author described sex in a variety of positions and in technical or crass terms, but without any emotion present it is about as interesting as an instruction manual stating, “insert screw A into opening B.” I never really had the impression that Sean and Liv were falling or in love – just that they were fulfilling the teenage fantasies they had about each other.
There were times Sean seemed to show a bit of emotion, but they always degenerated into crude sexual talk. He thinks and speaks in terms of c_cks and p_ssies. It was really is hard to imagine him as a romantic lead when he sounds like a teenage boy.
The books we passed around the lunchroom had one thing in common: they weren’t keepers. All the sex in the world can’t make up for stereotypical characters, old and tired plotlines and the lack of a genuine connection the hero and heroine. Edge of Midnight suffers the same fate – it was good for a laugh, but has no place on my bookshelf.