Monday, July 4, 2011

Review: ‘Don’t Look Down’ by Jennifer Cruise & Bob Mayer

I love the idea of authors of two different genres collaborating on a book together.  In Don’t Look Down, romance author Jennifer Cruise and action/suspense author Bob Mayer team up to create an action-filled adventure with a strong romantic storyline.  I wanted to love this story, but unfortunately, it just didn’t work. 

Lucy Armstrong is a dog food commercial director who gets called in to direct the last four days of a Hollywood action movie after the director died of a heart attack.  Her ex-husband, Cooper Nash, is the stunt coordinator on the film and her sister is one of the assistant directors.  Also running around the set is Lucy’s five-year-old niece, Pepper, who apparently she is expected to babysit while she is running a movie set. 

J.T. Wilder is a Green Beret on leave who is hired by the film’s star to be his stunt double.  Immediately upon getting on set, J.T. realizes something is wrong.  The way the stunts are set up do not make sense.  Of course, pointing these discrepancies out only pisses off Cooper. 

From here, the plot twists and turns with unnecessary complications: Russian mobsters, IRA terrorists, $50 million of stolen jade phallic symbols, a one-eyed alligator, a homicidal sniper hiding in the swamp, whiny Hollywood actors and everyone sleeping with everyone.  Did I mention this all occurs over four days?  There are also recurring references to both the movie High Noon and Wonder Woman.  There was just too much going on to really develop the characters.

As for the romance, I understood the initial attraction between J.T. and Lucy, but I didn’t find the development of the relationship believable.  The two barely talk before they are crazy about each other.  Then, after they have sex for the first time, Lucy gets all pissed when J.T. isn’t immediately on-board with getting married and spending the rest of their lives together.  (Don’t worry, later that day he relents and agrees.)  Dumb.

I also found myself getting impatient and annoyed by the niece, Pepper.  Maybe it’s because I don’t have children, but I was so annoyed by this girl.  These people are supposed to be working, but this five-year-old is constantly under foot interrupting people.  She was also demanding and spoiled.  I think she was supposed to be endearing because all of the other characters fell all over themselves pleasing her, but I couldn’t believe one adult in this novel wouldn’t have complained about this kid.  There is a scene where the girl insists on having a Wonder Woman party.  She makes Lucy and her mother dress up in Wonder Woman underwear with her while the men sit around and ogle them.  Seriously, indulging the whims of a child can only go so far.

Overall, I give Don’t Look Down

Plot – 1 bookmark (Just too much going on and none of it believable.)
Character development – 1 ½ bookmarks (Too much going on with the plot to spend any time developing characters.)
Love story – 2 bookmarks (Was going okay until Lucy got all clingy.)
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Mia Kirshner (Lucy), Wentworth Miller (J.T.), Bradley Cooper (Cooper Nash), Holly Madison (Althea), Justin Long (Bryce)

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