Trust Me Once
This is one of those books that you read, then, when you close the cover for the last time, you have no idea how you felt about it. I finished Trust Me Once a few days ago, and I’m still not sure whether I liked it or not. No wait. Now that I think about it, I’ve made up my mind. I liked some parts of it, but those parts were few and far between. I guess that settles that.
After reading the line, “The rambling Tudor mansion stretched out atop its perch of grass and rock in the attitude of a lion, lazy and regal, its face raised in the afternoon sun as if testing the breezes for a scent of supper,” I almost gave up on the book right then and there. This has got to be one of the worst descriptions of a house I’ve ever read. But, fortunately, the line seemed to be an anomaly, because the rest of the book was devoid of such anthropomorphic structures.
The hero and heroine of this book are TV/movie actor/producer Owen Dean and attorney Sarah Rand. They meet just after an attempt has been made on Sarah’s life. Her car is shot up and in a ditch, so he gives her a lift into town.
Apparently, Newport, Rhode Island is a long-ignored hotbed of intrigue, where killers are let out of jail on a weekend furlough to do more killing, police departments cannot be trusted, and actors-turned-college-teachers solve crimes. You’ve heard of crime-solving English spinsters, priests, housewives … now we have a crime-solving TV producer. Okay.
It’s difficult to put into words just what this book is about. The gist of it is, somebody wants Sarah dead. Their first attempt kills Sarah’s house-sitting friend, Tori! Gosh, I’m sorry. That was an exclamation point, wasn’t it. Well, you’re going to find lots of those in this book! Oops, there went another one. There are so many extraneous exclamation points, it felt like people were startled or yelling at each other all the time.
Why does somebody want Sarah dead? Getting to the bottom of things is a real mess! Sorry, I did it again. I mean, there are dozens of characters in this book, and the body count is pretty high. There are inconsistencies galore (was Tori killed at the aforementioned Tudor mansion, or in Sarah’s apartment? Or are they the same place?). The romance is there, but it’s rather tepid (short on the romance; long on the suspense). Some of the language and imagery is straight out of Goodfellas and is disgusting. I can take foul language! (Oops, damn), but half the cast of this book is too slimy to believe and simply made me cringe.
The plot is confusing and shifts from one scene to another with lightning speed. I never got a chance to enjoy Sarah and Owen (who, as heroine and hero are a nice match), because I was thrust into somebody else’s head in the next scene. It’s like watching a movie that’s been too closely cut or edited. It drove me nuts! (Gotcha. That was a real one.)
There is never any doubt as to who is behind it all, but there are a couple of other villains that were thrown into the mix just to keep the reader on her toes. You want page-turning suspense? I’ll admit there was indeed page-turning suspense. I liked Sarah and Owen but felt their relationship suffered tremendously because of the breakneck pace of this book, the emphasis on the bad guys, an overly complicated plot, too many characters (living and dead) … the list goes on.
Basically, I wanted to like this book! (I couldn’t help it; just one last one), but I didn’t like it and can’t recommend it. What I can recommend is a Tudor-set romance this husband and wife team wrote under their May McGoldrick name in 1998 – Flame.