Maybe the two F-16s that roared so low over my home in the nation’s capitol recently that a glass jar was knocked off a shelf have something to do with it, but I find myself having less and less tolerance for authors using major terrorist incidents as the plotline in cheesy tales of romantic suspense. And, believe me, if there’s one word to describe Hot Ice, “cheesy” would be it.
The goings-on here have something to do with a privately funded anti-terrorist group seeking to obtain computer disks that are supposedly the key to getting into a super secret underground mine thingy that a really mean terrorist is planning to use to do something really nasty. Huntington St. John breaks super human thief Taylor Kinkaid out of jail because he thinks she may have the disks since the reason she was in jail anyway was for breaking into the safe of the really mean terrorist guy.
Well, even though she’s temporarily blinded after the jail break, she’s still got plenty of spunk, baby. In fact, she’s so spunky that she manages to escape for a while – well, that is, until Huntington St. John finds her (he’s like a super sleuth and all). And then they have hot sex and she starts to see why he needs her since lots of people would die if this really mean terrorist guy gets to do whatever it is he’s going to do.
As if all that weren’t enough, in between all this stuff, you get w-a-a-a-y too up close and personal looks at the really mean terrorist guy doing really mean things, and this other really mean terrorist woman doing really mean stuff, too. It’s all, well, really mean.
For the first half of the book, Huntington and Taylor simply couldn’t be more cartoon-y. He’s a suave, debonair uppercrust British guy doing your basic Hugh Grant on steroids impression. As for Taylor – remember that leaked cigarette company memo of a few years back detailing their “virile female” target market? Taylor is it…just without the Marlboros. In the second half, Ms. Adair makes some effort to make them real, but the way she goes about it with Taylor is so corny that I quite honestly preferred the cartoon version.
Since you know a book like this simply has to have a big finish, the final chapters are filled with this really, really, really big finish involving the underground mine thingy and Dante’s Seven Levels of Hell. This is the absolute biggest big finish I’ve come across in a while and I had to read it about three times to make any sense of it at all and kinda sorta figure out exactly what was going on. And kinda sorta is about as far as I got.
And, in a book in which everything that could possibly be over the top is over the top, the author goes even further by placing on our heroine a “$600 LaPerla thong”. La Perla may be one of the most (if not the most) expensive producers of fine lingerie in the world, but their top thong sells for nothing approaching this amount by hundreds of dollars. If that’s really what Taylor shelled out for underwear, our super human, super invincible, super tough thief was…well, super robbed.
If this review lacks my usual (I hope) coherency, I’ll ask that you excuse my failings since it’s a Herculean task to write a coherent review of a book that isn’t. Bottom line for me is that terrorism ain’t funny, kids. While it would be ridiculous to demand that it be kept completely off the table in popular entertainment, authors and film makers and the like should have some sense of responsibility when they deliberately exploit the very real fears that a lot of people live with every day. And, please, when writing about terrorism, leave the cheese on the burger.