Wednesday, May 29, 2013

#29 (2013/CBR5) "Shiver" by Karen Robards

I was puttering along in rush hour traffic the other day after my commute had suddenly (and hopefully only temporarily) increased dramatically, and I figured why not make use of this time by listening to books on CD. In fact, one of Karen Robard's latest books, Shiver (2012) was only available from my library on CD so I figured a little romance wouldn't take too much concentration as I drove. Unfortunately, it didn't really work for me.

Samantha Jones is a 23-year-old woman who drives a tow truck and repossesses cars at night to support herself and her 4-year-old son, Tyler. Tyler's dad is out of the picture. One night, Samantha picks up a BMW that happens to have Danny, shot and beat up in the trunk. [***SPOILERS***] Danny is an FBI agent who is undercover pretending to be Marco, another FBI agent gone bad and going into the witness protection program. Apparently the plan was for Danny to pretend to be Marco and distract the murderous thugs after Marco while Marco spills everything he knows. The U.S. Marshalls guarding Danny don't know that he's really a good guy, and when Danny's first safe house is compromised, he ends up in the trunk of the car. When the bad guys find Samantha near the car, they throw her in the trunk, too.

Really, the more I write about it, the more ridiculous it sounds. And that doesn't even include the twist at the end. There was unnecessary bickering and then immediate, deep love with nothing in between. I also had a problem with some major lack of fact checking that I found annoying. Robards had an interesting view of what it takes to become an EMT and how much they make. Poor Samantha Jones was saving up and taking class after class to become an EMT, which really only requires one class and doesn't pay much. I took it over the summer. Also, FBI agents aren't really allowed to go around indiscriminately killing criminals in cold blood. That's murder. Even if they are bad guys. It's why we have courts and judges and juries. There were still a couple of scenes where I got a little caught up in the tension or wanted Sam to figure out that Marco was not what he seemed. But I didn't feel too much connection with it.

And then there's the whole part about listening to it on CD rather than reading it myself. I'm sure the book wouldn't have been any better if I'd read it myself, but I think I would have enjoyed it a little more. When I can't see how a name is spelled, I never remember it clearly, so I had a fuzzy idea of the various players fighting with and against each other. I also had a hard time concentrating enough to follow all of the action sequences clearly. Instead of reading in large chunks when I could relax and take in the story, I was listening in short bits, often while I was very tired and distracted. It's not really the way I like to take in a story. The reader also made a huge difference. She did a good job, but if I were reading it myself, I could gloss over some of the more painful dialogue, or imagine an inflection that makes me like the characters more. I'm also a much faster reader than someone reading out loud to an audience, so I think it would have taken me less time to get to the point. I felt like I'd just been sitting in my car for hours and nothing was happening. I have one more book on CD--Non-fiction--so I'll see if that one works any better. I may have to resort back to driving with music.

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