walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_Kill Me Twice_, Roxanne St. Claire (kindle)

This is the first entry in a long series of connected-but-can-standalone romantic suspense novels featuring the "Bullet Catchers", run by Lucy, an ex-CIA agent with deep tragedy in the backstory, who recruits people to act as part of a team that provides "executive protection". In this first outing, Alex, who is Cuban-American, is assigned to protect Jessica, a Miami anchor woman who has set her sights on The Network. When he arrives, however, "Jessica" is being impersonated by Jasmine, her identical twin sister who got out of the TV business a while ago and recently got her PI license in California. Jessica asked Jasmine to pretend to be Jessica while Jessica pursued a Hot Story. The plan was for Jessica to brief Jasmine, but Jessica's already gone without leaving a note when Jasmine arrives. Nevertheless, Jasmine goes through with the plan, woefully underprepared. Alex decides to play along and does not initially tell his boss.

The "clues" that convince Jasmine that Jessica really is still on the story and really is still okay were utterly unconvincing to me. However, there was some effort on the part of St. Claire to provide a psychodynamic between the twins that would explain Jasmine's decision to cover for her missing twin. St. Claire does a _nice_ job of providing a lot of possible suspects in Jessica's disappearance. A _really_ nice job. Lucy presents the job to Alex as having an official client, Kimball (new owner), but also an unofficial client that Lucy isn't going to tell Alex about. This struck me as incredibly poor judgment, and turned out to be incredibly poor judgment. St. Claire's efforts to provide an explanation for that were substantially weaker.

On a previous job, Alex chose to become sexually involved with a principal's (person being protected) spouse as a way of protecting the principal (the spouse found out the principal was having a same sex liaison and was going to carve him up). Alex's outrageous behavior (apparently of a piece with a long history of less than wise hookups) has resulted in Lucy banning Alex from getting it on with the principal in this case, telling him he'll lose his job at Bullet Catchers if he does. This being a romance novel, obviously, he'll break that rule. Equally obviously, it won't be enforced.

Slightly less than halfway through this novel, I almost abandoned it. I really thought everyone in it was being Too Stupid to Live. I went and did some baking, thought about it, and concluded that I was sufficiently wrapped up in both the characters and the plot to have trouble walking away; I finished it and don't regret doing so. But if you have a sensitive TSTL meter, you may want to steer clear of this book. The other reason I stuck it out is because later entries in the series got really favorable reviews over on SBTB. I know from other experience that early series entries can be weak, but useful to read to better understand later entries. I will (probably) be reading more in this series. St. Claire explored the Capable Woman Who Wants to Take Care of Herself But Hooks Up With Hot, Controlly Guy theme and instead of coming out the usual, Oh, Gosh, Someone To Watch Over Me exit the way that usually goes, went out the door marked, Okay, Can I Hang Out With You While You So Competently Take Care of Yourself? I liked that. It would have made up for a much, much worse book.
Tags: book review, romantic suspense

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