In the world of Contemporary Romance there is a lot of chaff. In musical terms 90% of it is bad 1980s karaoke. It’s your boss up there on stage belting out bad renditions of Air Supply and REO Speedwagon love songs.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the 1980s and yeah I’ll sing along even to the schmaltziest love song. I’ll admit it –– I know all the words to Moonlight Shadow by Mike Oldfield and I even sang the damned song to a girl I was keen on in Art Class. But It didn’t work! I didn’t get the girl! And rightly so because my voice is deplorable.
But that isn’t Penny Reid. In a genre dominated by hack renditions of Billy Joel and Chris de Burgh, Penny Reid is Lykke Li.
Ever since taking over as boss of Ashland’s underworld Gin has had every two bit hood gunning for her, now to top it all off she has learned that an insidious criminal organisation has been manipulating her from the shadows. She really needs a holiday so when her brother Finn inherits a wild-west theme park and hotel she joins him as he travels south to scope out the joint and hopefully catch some long overdue R&R.
But all is not as it seems and they quickly realise that the whole inheritance was a sham to get Gin and her friends down to the park where they can be taken care of.
Unraveled is great fun. Jennifer Estep fills her pages with brash, almost cartoonish heroes and villains. They are larger than life and occasionally over the top….but they’re always good fun.
It’s not perfect, she gets some technical details wrong (e.g. when the last shot of an automatic pistol is fired, the breech locks open, and yet we get the “click, click, click” you expect in a 1950s matinee). But in some ways, those little foibles make her books better. It’s like she just wants to pound out the stories, entertain her readers and couldn’t be bothered with the small things.
And after 15 books it still works. I keep waiting for the series to lose it’s appeal but here I am eagerly awaiting book 16.
Many thanks to Pocket Books and Edelweiss for providing me with this ARC