Monday, September 23, 2013

#56 (2013/CBR5) "The Last Kiss Goodbye" by Karen Robards

I did not pick up The Last Kiss Goodbye (2013) by Karen Robards with the best attitude. First, I am not a fan of paranormal romance novels. I just don't understand the appeal of falling in love with a ghost. Romance heroes are pretty unrealistic already. Is it really necessary to make them even more unobtainable? Second, the only reason I was reading The Last Kiss Goodbye was to get closure after reading The Last Victim, a book that I only read because Robards was one of my favorite romance authors, and she'd never written about ghosts before. And not only did The Last Victim have ghosts, but it didn't even have an ending! What I know now is that it is the first book of the "Charlotte Stone" series. I have no idea when this series is going to end, but it appears it could go on forever. The Last Kiss Goodbye is the second book in the Charlotte Stone series. I picked it up because I like closure and I was curious how she was going to make everything work out (I was assuming that paranormal romances--like regular romances--requires a happy ending).

Unfortunately, reading The Last Kiss Goodbye didn't get me any closure. "Charlie" is still puttering around with her innocent, serial-killer, dead boyfriend who she's trying to keep from hell and she can't touch. There's another serial killer on the loose, focused on Charlie, and killing people left and right. The FBI team tries to find the killer and Charlie very, very s-l-o-w-l-y starts looking into whether her dead boyfriend might actually be innocent.

The first book at least introduced a world with spirits and different realms and the unique character of Charlie, who can sometimes communicate with the dead. Unfortunately, in this second novel, there is absolutely nothing new. Charlie is still conflicted about Michael (her dead boyfriend), and she's still trying to find a killer. When Robards had her characters actively engaged in trying to solve the murders or in some kind of chase scene, the book was pretty interesting, even though the gruesome and excessive killing often felt overdone and sensational--like Nancy Grace's take on crime.

Unfortunately, Robards also stalled, not wanting her characters to change too much, or she wouldn't have anything to write for her third book in this series. There was no character development for any of the main characters, although I guess there was an incredibly unrealistic love triangle between the head FBI guy, Charlie, and her ghost: unrealistic because Charlie doesn't even pretend to have a real interest in the FBI guy. I got so tired of Charlie shooting scathing glances at Michael, glaring at Michael, narrowing her eyes at Michael--because she couldn't talk to him in public without looking crazy. They seemed to have an antagonistic relationship just to create some kind of tension. It was tiresome. I think I might be done with this series. Maybe if the third book is the last I can push through to see it to the end...

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