Just for Kicks
If Just for Kicks isn’t quite Susan Andersen at her best, it’s still a fun and largely satisfying read.
Las Vegas showgirl Carly Jacobsen doesn’t have much in common with her next-door neighbor, the ultra-straitlaced Wolfgang Jones. To make bad luck even worse, the man who complains repeatedly about the barking of her new puppy also works in security at the same casino that employs Carly. It’s fair to say that he’s as fond of the “ditzy” Carly as she is of him.
Wolf’s life – not to mention his detailed life plan – undergo some drastic changes when his nephew Nicklaus comes to live with him and the bachelor suddenly finds himself coping with the problems of a teenager who (quite understandably) feels as if he’s been bounced around. Soon enough, however, Nicklaus realizes that there is a showgirl who just happens to have two cats and two dogs living right next door and Carly and Wolf have an even harder time avoiding each other than before.
To be honest, this is and feels like a quiet kind of book, where there isn’t a lot of external action. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Except that this slow and measured plot is interrupted every chapter or two by the first person POV of a Really Spooky Serial Killer type who is fixated on Carly. Honestly, this felt like nothing more than short-hand filler to turn the book into some kind of romantic suspense thing, when it’s simply not. And considering the sketchy nature of the Really Spooky Serial Killer’s thoughts and the overwhelmingly familiar feel of it all to anyone who’s ever read a single novel of romantic suspense – or heck, or even watched one of those shows on A & E – and it turns a satisfying book into a slightly less than satisfying one.
But, on the positive side, animal-loving Carly is nicely fleshed out (sorry), as is Wolf. Both came across as real people and are likable, if not especially memorable. Of course, there are the obligatory appearances from characters from previous books that seemed a shade cameo-ish without dipping into corny.
On the whole, Just for Kicks merits a recommendation, if not an altogether unqualified one. This one is a bit slow – except for that wacky Really Spooky Serial Killer type – but makes for pleasant reading nonetheless.