Book Log #78: Stranded With a Spy, by Merline Lovelace

I’m sure there’s a target audience for this book, but unfortunately, it wasn’t me. Even for a free ebook.

The basic setup seemed interesting enough: Congressional aide Mallory Dawes has become infamous after levelling sexual harassment charges at her boss, and she’s decided to flee her sudden infamy by taking a vacation to France. Problem is, she’s been set up to get caught carrying secret information, and agent Cutter Smith has been assigned to track her and find out who she’s taking the information to. He soon realizes she’s innocent, of course–and the two of them have the obligatory sparks flying while teaming up to find out who’s actually behind the information theft, not to mention attempts on Mallory’s life.

Thing is, way too little time was spent on the suspense part of this plot for my tastes, and way too much on describing the lushness of the villa where Mallory and Cutter get to crash and the clothes Mallory gets to borrow. Especially the shoes. We’re told over and over what awesome shoes she gets to wear, and how she even winds up using one of them to take down the actual villain in the final confrontation… which would have been awesome if it’d actually happened on camera instead of getting brushed over in description after the fact. While, I might add, the only other notable female characters in the cast (clearly the heroines of previous installments of the series this book must be part of) swoon hardcore over the shoes. No admiration of our heroine’s takedown of the villain, no exclamations of ‘wow, you’re awesome’… just gushing over the thousand-dollar designer shoes.

For me, for whom a thousand dollars means ‘the amount of money necessary to buy an awesome laptop or guitar’, this just did not compute. Not a badly executed book for what it was, but clearly not for me. Two stars.