Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Review: Behind Closed Doors by Shannon McKenna

Title: Behind Closed Doors
Series: McClouds & Friends
Author: Shannon McKenna
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: October 1, 2003
Publisher: Brava
ISBN: 0758203195
ISBN-13: 9780758203199

Every move you make ...

Surveillance expert Seth Mackey knows everything about the women that his millionaire boss toys with -- and tosses aside. Raine Cameron is something different. Night after night, Seth watches her on a dozen different video screens. Her vulnerable beauty haunts him and her fresh innocence stirs a white-hot passion that he can barely control. Raine is pure temptation, but Seth has something more important to take care of first. He's convinced that his boss, Victor Lazar, is responsible for his half-brother's murder. He cannot put his secret investigation at risk, but he can't stop wanting her—craving her—and soon he knows he can't let Victor have her. For Raine may be Victor's next victim...

Every breath you take ...

Raine knows she's being watched -- but no one can see the secrets in her heart. She has reasons of her own to seek revenge on Victor Lazar, and she will, despite her fear -- and the distracting presence of Seth Mackey. Though Raine has little experience with men, Seth's fiercely masculine good looks and animal sensuality stir her most erotic fantasies when she's alone...and lead her to a bold plan. Offering her body to him, surrendering totally to his ruthless desire might well push her beyond all emotional limits -- and beyond fear itself.

My rating:

Seth Mackey, a surveillance expert, is trying to settle a score with Victor Lazar, an unscrupulous tycoon, partially responsible for the death of Seth's half-brother ten months ago.

In order to get his revenge on Lazar, Seth has put the apartment of Lazar's ex-mistress under video surveillance. But that apartment is quickly occupied by Lazar's new employee, shy and timid Raine Cameron.

Despite Seth's conviction she's Lazar's new plaything, he falls for her - hard. What he doesn't know is that Raine has her own reasons for seeking Lazar out, her own agenda.

Raine suffers from recurring nightmares focused on her father's suspicious death (17 years prior). By what she's been able to deduce from this dreams is the fact her father was killed by her uncle, Victor Lazar.

When these two strangers with the same goal finally meet, there's instant attraction between them.

I still cannot fully fathom just how much this book has going wrong. Although it started promising enough, it soon got pulled under by all the unnecessary baggage Ms. McKenna thrust at it in order to make it more appealing. Less is more, Ms. McKenna, you should remember that in the future.

The major problem is with the pacing. I'm sorry, but psychoanalysis in a suspenseful erotica book is a big turn-off for me. Cut out the long, winding pages of internal monologue and inner angst-filled debates and you have yourself a decent little novel. The suspense and oodles of hot scenes are enough for me to keep the pages turning. If I wanted psychobabble, I'd read Freud, thank you very much.

Also, I had a real problem with the two leads. Most of the time Raine came off TSTL. I hate to say this, but in her description of Raine, Ms. McKenna sounded more like a man than a woman. She's created a wonderful stereotype of a woman. Blond, big-chested, shy on the outside, but real tigress in the bedroom (despite her almost virginity), and not the brightest bulb in the box. As soon as she indicated some signs of backbone-growth, Shannon McKenna pushed her into another stupid situation just to show us how braincell-free Raine really is.

Although I like an Alpha male as much as the next gal, Seth made me want to run him over with a monster truck, put it in reverse, and repeat the exercise. Apparently sex is a good substitute for social skills, because this stupid brute was all brawn and thrusting pelvis. And when he did open his mouth, other then get down on Raine, nothing overly intelligent came out, and he was just a dumb, hung brute with a possessive streak a mile wide and a chest-thumping, hips-pumping attitude.

As for the sex part - there were many of those scnenes in the book. Well, it was hot, but I got bored after a while. I don't know about you, but when I'm reading erotica, I would like some story behind the act. The sex scenes in this book seemed more like PWP to me. Although the author did try to put some emotion and even romance behind them, the power-games grew old pretty quickly.

Also, the language made me suspect that it was a man really writing this. Call me a prude, but I hate the C word for female genitalia. Maybe it's appropriate for certain scenes, but not for the entire length of the book. After a while it just made me want to gag, and it was just another porn-reference to me.

Although the suspense is more of a subtle chess-game than a real mystery, it is one of the rare good points of this book. I liked Victor Lazar, he was loads of fun in a megalomaniac-murdered kind of way. And his little stint as Cupid for his niece was quite heart-warming, again if you overlook his true motives.

So, despite the dumbest heroine (and her dumb, hung brute of a hero) I've encountered so far and the disturbing amount of internal bitching and moaning, this book is all-right, I guess (no recommendation intended - you read it at your own risk!)


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