Sunday, July 29, 2007

The return of the review haiku

It's been awhile, no?

Ghosts and Roses by Kelley St. John

Psychic Family,
Compelled to help troubled ghosts.
One plagued by hot dreams.

Gage must help victim,
Whose killer wants his dream girl,
Solid Blaze, fast read.

Comments from the Peanut Gallery: This book is saddled with the stupidest miniseries title evah: The Sexth Sense. Come on! I guffawed when entering it into Romantic Advances. I guess we should be happy the tagline wasn’t “I have sex with dead people.” But the description sounded interesting, and after reading the review at AAR, I decided to buy it. And it was pretty good, one of the best Blazes I’ve read. I polished it off on a round trip train ride to the city for Ellen S.’ thirtieth (So which is it? Filthy or Flirty? Happy Birthday!)

The miniseries concerns the Vicknairs, a family of Louisiana psychics who have been mandated by the family matriarch to help troubled spirits cross to the other side. Playboy ER physician Gage Vicknair’s most recent assignment is a murder victim who believes she was stabbed by the man who molested her and her three ‘sisters’ in a orphanage many years before. She needs Gage to help her warn and protect them. One of the women, Makayla Sparks, just happens to be the one Gage has been having intense sexual dreams about. But between her terrible past, and the present danger, they may not have a future.

I really dislike it when rape or sexual abuse is treated casually or carelessly in romance novels, and I was a bit concerned, given the high heat level and short length of the Harlequin Blaze. But St. John pulled it off satisfactorily, not giving the horror of the past short shrift. She made the whole “dream lover” device work too, which is kind of a cheesy one, by writing the heck out of the physical and emotional intensity for the two characters. The dream dimension angle provided a safe space for the heroine to explore her sexuality, and to try trusting a man. I wish Makayla had a little more character development than “former victim”, but there was quite a bit of plot going on here, too. I agree with the AAR reviewer that, after a pretty good amount of suspense, the ending kind of fizzled by making the characters seem, hmmm, not too bright. I’d check out St. John’s other work. The other ones in the series have ghosts as the love interest, which I’m not into, but there are another three interesting cousins, who I hope get stories as well. B-. Give it a go, if you like ghosts or psychics.