Suzanne Enoch’s Flirting with Danger and Don’t Look Down are the first two books in a new contemporary romance/suspense series. They’re being marketed as chick lit and shelved in romance, and I never would have found then without the word-of-mouth known as LiveJournal. To paraphrase what I said when I saw the first reviewed there: Capers! Trust issues! Lack of Big Misunderstandings! I must have this.
Flirting with Danger opens with Samantha Jellicoe breaking into the house of Rick Addison. She’s a second-generation thief who’s been hired to steal a piece of art out of Addison’s mansion. However, when she gets there, she finds a security guard, Addison (who is supposed to be out of the country) . . . and a bomb. She manages to save Addison, though not the security guard, and ends up the prime suspect. She wants to clear her name, Rick wants to find out who planted the bomb and why, and so they team up to investigate.
They are sexually attracted to each other from the start, but their involvement isn’t nearly so simple or straightforward as “fall into bed, live happily every after.” They are very different people who lead very different lives—see “trust issues,” above—and I appreciated the way that the series doesn’t gloss over the time and effort needed to make their lives mesh. Indeed, the second book, Don’t Look Down, starts with Sam leaving Rick over an argument about how involved he’s going to be in her new security business.
Well, okay, actually Don’t Look Down starts with Sam breaking into Rick’s house for practice and then the two of them having sex; they don’t fight until Chapter 2. I’m not particularly interested in the sex scenes—possibly I just can’t deal with the phrase “pert tits” [*]—but I don’t find it difficult to skim them.
This is also how I treat the sex scenes in J.D. Robb’s In Death novels, and there are some other mild similarities. Rick is from the other side of the pond, rich, famous, and arrogant; I occasionally wanted to wait until he was facing away, yell “Roarke!”, and see if he turned around. Then there’s the tough female protagonist, the mystery/suspense element, and the slowly building ensemble cast. Enoch’s books are present-day and rather fluffier than the In Death series, but might appeal to fans of those books all the same.
[*] I have no idea whether this is a genuine Britishism and I don’t care. Which leads me to an objective criticism: the books head-hop like crazy, switching between Rick and Sam mid-scene and often leaving me confused for a sentence or two. I really wish people wouldn’t do that (another point of similarity with J.D. Robb).
The plots of these two books are a bit of a mixed bag. Flirting with Danger is a moderately complicated story, accumulating bodies and motives as it goes, and keeping Rick and Sam in constant danger. It ends up answering all of its questions but one, as far as I can tell, and that one is pretty minor (ROT13: jurer qvq ur trg gur teranqrf?). The next book is weaker, which in part is the general problem with suspense series where the protagonists aren’t law enforcement: usually they start investigating because they’re in danger, but unless they are appallingly unlucky, they can’t be in danger in every book. Instead, a prospective client of Sam’s nascent security business is murdered in his home, and Sam feels obligated to look into the matter. The plot’s much less twisty, the stakes are lower, and the solution ends up being less thematically interesting than that of Flirting with Danger.
I got these out of the library and have now bought copies of my own. These are very entertaining and moderately non-guilty lunchtime reading, and while there are things I’d like to see improved, I will certainly read at least the next one.