07 April, 2012

Review: Sleepwalker by Karen Robards

Really, April 7th? Really? Where did the first week go? After the brilliance that was Jenny's Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened everything else I read failed to connect. It was a pretty high bar to jump and most of the books in my bag took one under the ribs. I did what I always do in circumstances like this one, I hit the bestsellers.

Karen Robards is what Linda Howard would be if she gave up on abuse dynamics. I've been a fan of Robards for her entire career. She often has an eye for the realistic detail. When a character lights a small stove, she worries about where the carbon monoxide vents. So do I. While I've faulted her in the past for having overly durable heroines Sleepwalker ended up on this side of believable. Which doesn't mean it cleared all it's plot hurdles. To fully enjoy Sleepwalker you have to believe that a young police officer with a rich honorary uncle would be unaware of his criminal connections. She's grown up with his private security force and immense riches surrounding her, but never deeply questioned the source. I couldn't give that a full pass. If you can, then the second hurdle shouldn't be a problem either. When we meet Micayla she has just found out her lover is a cheat. In less than 24 hours she will be in a new relationship without giving him a third thought. Jump those two and you're going breeze through the rest of the course.

Micayla is housesitting to soothe her broken heart. Jason is breaking and entering to soothe his broken bank account. Soon they are on the run (in her pajamas, no less) while Uncle Nicco's men hunt them. Sleepwalker is cinematic. This is the sort of book you cast parts in while you read it. (Michael Bay would almost certainly direct.) Whatever your taste in Cops and Robbers, Sleepwalker has you covered. Cold cases? Political Corruption? Kidnappings? High body counts? Mick and Jason barely escape it all. This is Sleepwalker's final hurdle. While I enjoyed the frenzy, Mick and Jason never become real. (Their emotional connection makes Ocean's Twelve look like a production from Merchant Ivory.) The subtitle reads A Thriller and Robards means it. Mick and Jason fall in love because they do, ok? Why do you have to talk about their feelings so much? Can't we just enjoy being together?

Normally I'd recommend Sleepwalker but suggest waiting for the paperback. With the hardcover already being bargain priced (Amazon has taken it down to 8.50 as I write this) and the MMP not due until late July, you can probably pick it up in hardcover if that's your inclination. Its a great popcorn book. Sleepwalker is perfect for that night you just want to be entertained without having to think too hard about anything. Everyone makes it to the end of the book, except the characters that don't. Amidst the betrayals and bullets some faith is restored. The good guys get off, the bad guys get shut down. When the sunset arrives on the idyllic beach, you can picture the teaser clip for a sequel. (Samuel  L. Jackson would definitely make an appearance.)

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