Pig in a Park
While I didn’t laugh out loud when reading Pig in a Park, I did have a broad grin plastered to my face from page one, and I don’t say that about many books. The turns of phrase were hilarious and the plotting clever, both of which are very high on my list of preferences. Unfortunately, the romance had a tendency to be elbowed out of the way when the action speeded up, leaving the book humorous, but not overly intimate.
Isabel Stanley writes children’s books featuring a cheeky cockroach. On her way home one day, there is gunfire and a man throws himself onto the sun roof of her car. He is Kel Kapone, and Isabel takes him to her vet to patch up his wounds. After a night in her bed, groggy with doggy painkillers, Kel walks off into the sunset, or so Bel, as he calls her, believes. But Bel keeps tangling with trouble, including various murders and weird dates, and Kel appears again and again mainly to save her, but also to figure out just what exactly is going on. I’m afraid you will have to settle for that much of the story – any more details and the game is up. Let’s just say there are many kinds of pigs, that have very different uses.
Bel is quiet and unsure of herself, which is hard for those around her to believe as she stumbles from one impossible situation to another. Her cluelessness, in combination with her talent as a caricaturist, is what moves the story forward. Because Pig in a Park is written in first person, Kel is less easy to define. He is, of course, inexplicably attracted to Bel, while saving the country and democracy from the bad guys. His more human traits are most clearly exposed by his and Bel’s brush-in with his mother.
The plot was intricate, and something I much appreciated was the handling of the various villains. This contributed not only to the humor, but kept me in the dark for longer than usual in romances with mystery sub-plots. Not only is the plot intense, but it is very action-packed. While that, on the one hand, made for a quick and amusing read, it also made the interaction between Bel and Kel something that tended to happen on the run. Towards the end, I still had some reservations about their chances for a happy future, as they had so little knowledge of each other.
It may be petty of me, but I find an adult virginal heroine in a contemporary setting a little contrived. Yes, I know that Bel is a Baptist – it is remarked upon numerous times – and that she doesn’t find herself attractive. But unless the virginity is necessary plotwise, I really don’t see the point. The constant interruption of their attempted trysts would have worked fine, anyway.
If you like funny romances with plenty of action, you have found what you were looking for. If you, like me, prefer breathing pauses in which the hero and heroine come to know each other on a deeper level, Pig in a Park is still a solid good entertainment, even if it isn’t a keeper.