06 November, 2012

Review: The Man With The Money by Lynn Raye Harris

* As I write, Amazon is selling this in MMP for $1.58 or in Kindle for $3.44. Keep telling me about the cheaper e-books, Grandma. I love that story.

Lynn Raye Harris won a random purchase from me with a little game I like to call Author Making A Rational Comment About Reviews. (I always expect a lot of entrants, but generally it's just one or two.) I went for The Man With The Money for it's Katrina afflicted heroine. Cara has a pretty complicated background. In fact, I found her background far more interesting than Jack's, which was a shame because Jack was the focus of the book.

As a former fan of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, made to order writing is familiar to me. Here Harris seems to be working under an odd set of restrictions. Jack is the obscenely wealthy head of an overly successful (generational money?) family haunted by violent dysfunction. He's furiously angry at his older brother for deserting the family and furiously angry with himself for not doing the same. I felt like Harris didn't care for Jack much, nor could she reveal enough of his life to make him work as a tortured hero. Having to save so much of his back story and current motivation for other authors hindered the story's development. Luckily, Cara picked up some of the slack.

Cara is working at a casino in Europe when an altercation with her boss forces her to flee. On the run with Jack, Cara finds herself trapped. (Well, not really. As she finally tells him she could easily go to the American Embassy. As well, running away with Jack isn't going to do her much good outside of the immediate circumstance since her boss is fully aware of her identity and family situations.) Taking advantage of a holiday from the obligations of both their lives, Cara and Jack turn danger into destination travel. Cara is used to paying her own way. Jack is the typical throw money at it Harlequin hero. He offers her the payday of a lifetime to accompany him to his brother's wedding. Soon we're in comfortable territory as the Pretty Woman story plays out in it's normal pattern.

On the copyright Harlequin thanks Harris for her contributions to the story and I had to agree. Cara often seems to be fighting the box she's been placed inside. I felt like there was an interesting long form contemporary heroine trying to get out. (Something along the lines of Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas.) The Man With The Money was a pleasant read, if not a compelling one. (The only real issue I had with it  occurs toward the end. Cara didn't strike me as a women who would keep Bobby Gold in her life, no matter what the power dynamic became.) The Man with The Money had moments of freshness in a familiar frame. I'd like to try something from Lynn Raye Harris that is completely her own invention.

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