Hot Southern Nights
I usually pick up books set in the south because I’m a little partial and I generally like them. However, Dianne Castell’s southernisms in Hot Southern Nights annoyed me and contributed to what turned out to be a disappointing read.
Churchill McKenzie is a busybody librarian who’s already been run out of New Jersey for sticking her nose where it didn’t belong. With intentions of mending her ways when she returns home to Savannah, she can’t help but jump in feet first when fate seems to have other ideas and throws problems her way again in the person of former flame Cal Davis and his family. After her eye witness testimony sent him to prison three years earlier and she knows in her heart he’s really innocent, she intends to get to the bottom of why he went to prison.
Cal simply wants to lead as normal a life as possible while rebuilding and racing cars, but when his grandmother invites Churchill back into his life he knows things won’t be simple. He’s of the mindset that some things are better left buried – like the real reason he went to prison, for instance. However, she digs and when things start getting dicey, the best way to protect her is to get involved with her. It doesn’t take too long for him to realize her best protection might just include him leaving town for good.
I have to admit I expect more sizzle from a Brava. While there was chemistry between the hero and heroine, it didn’t amount to much in terms of interaction – they weren’t together enough within the story for me to care whether or not they got their HEA.
Though I liked the prim librarian matched with the gritty ex-con, the characters lacked development. Other than the fact that she was a disappointment to her mom and was basically run out of New Jersey, there isn’t much else interesting about Churchill. While his character is developed a little more, it’s not by much – he’s a disappointment to his parents, has a disability, and spent a little time in prison. And I have to add, there’s way too much car talk and I just don’t want to know that much about cars.
Within the story itself, it seemed as though segments were missing or completely edited out for some reason. For example, at one point Churchill is drinking with Cal and then the next time we see Cal, he’s getting beat-up at the racetrack and Churchill is at the library. There’s no explanation of what went on in between, how Cal got to the point of being beat up, or by whom. Plus, the syntax of the sentences often seemed off or awkwardly worded.
As much as the previously mentioned details bothered me, nothing bothered me as badly as the over the top dialogue of the characters. While in many instances it was appropriate and expected, more often than not it was antiquated and bordered on insulting from this born, reared, and present southerner’s perspective. Almost every stereotype imaginable was employed in an attempt at humor or color. Sadly, it failed within the grand scheme of things.
Needless to say, I can’t recommend Hot Southern Nights, the third in Dianne Castell’s Hot Series because it became a struggle to finish. However, I did really like the cover although there is an error in the back blub.