Lovers and Other Lunatics
Sometimes I think a book might work better under another format, or another label. A novella might have been better as a longer work, or vice versa, or a romantic suspense that held no real romance for me might be better labeled as straight Fiction. In this case, instead of Contemporary Romance, Lovers and Other Lunatics might have worked better as something else, although I’m not yet sure what.
When we meet Teresa Phelps, she is about to enter an elevator and is scared out of her mind. She’s been afraid of them since she got stuck in one years ago, and is glad for the charming Englishman who accompanies her inside – until he pulls a gun on her. Charles Everett accuses her of threatening his parents’ marriage – he’s got proof, you see – and he vows not to let her out of her sight until his parents return in about a month. Of course, he is devastatingly charming and polite while he kidnaps her. With the help of Billy Bob Crumpett (a bug exterminator Teresa calls), Teresa manages to escape Charles and go home. On the, way Billy Bob tells her that her house has been ransacked.
Teresa’s home is in shambles, her skirt is in shreds, her Aunt Hatch is at the door, and Charles reappears. And as if that weren’t enough, all of a sudden the house is under attack. Bullets fly, people hit the floor and Teresa, god bless her, delights in the feel of Charles’ body on top of her own. Conveniently, everyone’s phones are either broken or not working, and instead of leaving the house to call the police), Teresa begins to straighten out the mess. Being the fan of Law and Order that I am, even I know that touching a crime scene is a no-no, but when Deputy Sheriff Bobby Mack Dilbreck shows up (Billy Bob alerted him), it doesn’t really matter.
Charles has a real reason for going after Teresa. He believes she holds the key to finding the famous pirate Jean Lafitte’s long-hidden treasure, because Lafitte’s journals were being translated by Teresa’s late brother, Frank. Somewhere in the middle of the story Charles goes from using Teresa to falling in love with her, but I never could figure out how or when it happened. Once Charles is in love with Teresa, he fears that if he tells Teresa the whole truth, he will lose her. Since he has already lied to her and kidnapped her, his further dishonesty does little to endear him to the reader.
His repulsive habit of fantasizing about Teresa whenever she’d been attacked, or whenever she was mourning for her brother didn’t help matters either. This wasn’t sexy; it was smarmy. Of course, Teresa wasn’t exactly pushing him away, either. The rest of the plot is spent trying to unravel the mysteries of Lafitte’s treasure, Frank’s murder, and Charles’ true intentions, but somehow none of it really mattered, least of all the Hispanic gang members who are very much like every Hispanic gang member that was ever caught on Law and Order.
When a heroine doesn’t call the police to investigate her kidnapping, or let them know that her house has been torn apart, or that there was a recent drive-by shooting aimed at her, there is a four-letter acronym for her and I’m sure you all know what that is. When a heroine has a nice, cozy dinner with the man who kidnapped her at gun-point, and when she keeps making out with this man she knows is using her – you got it, there’s the acronym again. Cardboard, cartoonish characters and contrived dialogue and plot made this a very long book to read.
I obviously didn’t “get” the humor; what was intended to be zany or knee-slapping funny became wall-hitting frustrating. I kept thinking of the elevator phobia scene in My Best Friend’s Wedding, and all those clever Hugh Grant and Rupert Everett flicks instead. In the end, that would be my recommendation – go rent one of those movies instead of reading this book.