Susan Johnson's 'Hot Property', a non-review

I rarely fail to finish reading a book that I start, but it’s happening a little more often lately—probably because I have so many books to read that I have less tolerance for cruddy ones. If there’s something I’m enjoying about the book or I’m having trouble putting my finger on why I don’t like it I might still finish it, but otherwise, why bother?

Anyway, while I’m not going to do a ‘review’ of a book I haven’t finished, nor share my thoughts of it on sites like Amazon or Epinions, I don’t mind noting on my blog why I decided not to finish it. And so, here are the reasons why I set aside Susan Johnson’s upcoming Hot Property around page 62 or thereabouts:

#1. The female lead comes across as a ditz and a moron. As far as I could tell, the only way to move the plot forward was to make her unbelievably naiive (particularly given her background, experience, and intelligence). She was potentially interesting at first, but once she started interacting with the male lead I lost all interest in her story.

#2. The male lead is just plain creepy. Sure, he’s had a really crappy life. Sure, once the book starts he has reason to be paranoid. But it’s obvious that even before his really good reasons for being paranoid started, he was disproportionately around the bend. Frankly, with the way he was behaving toward the female lead, she should have been outta there. She should have been freaked, not turned on. But then, that just contributes to her coming across as a moron.

#3. The story feels contrived—two back-woods neighbors conveniently fearing for their lives on the same day and deciding to run off together even though they’ve never met each other before.

#4. The villain (an art collector who doesn’t want the female lead to reveal to the world that much of his collection was ill-gotten) is so one-dimensional it’s painful. His shrewish trophy wife is equally horrid.

Things like contrived plots and flimsy villains are occasionally forgivable in the world of romance as long as you have a leading couple with tons of chemistry and personality. Unfortunately, these two are just plain creepy, and I had absolutely no desire to watch their relationship come to fruition.

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