A Novel Approach, by Emma Jane Spenser

>> Tuesday, March 23, 2004

This weekend I read A Novel Approach, by an author I'd never heard of, Emma Jane Spenser. This was apparently her first novel.

Dani Courtland was extremely frustrated. Every time she came close to pulling off the perfect crime, some pinhead in a three-piece suit stepped in to thwart her. If she was ever going to finish writing her latest murder mystery, she'd have to get him out of the way first.

But PI AdamWinters wasn't willing to be written off. After witnessing Dani in action, his profesional curiosity -among other things- was aroused. As for Dani's response... She decided he was more Adonis than Pinhead, beneath that suit, and rather fun to have underfooot. Sooner or later, though, he was bound to discover that pseudomurder wasn't all she was guilty of...
It was a cute book, with a fun premise. My grade for it: a B.

As I said, I thought the premise was really cute (cute, in a good way). It was an original and fun way for these two people to meet. It only served as the "introduction", so the rest of the book had to stand on its own, but luckily the rest of the development was nice, too, with a hero who fell like a ton of bricks for Dani, almost immediately. I did think that these two fell "in love" a bit too fast, faster than I could buy, at least, but oh well.

The heroine, Dani, was cute, too. She was definitely quirky, and I liked how Adam took it all in stride and was actually fascinated by this quirkiness. I also liked how the author showed their compatibility, by emphasizing all those little details they had in common, like a fondness for Japanese beer, or their liking gourmet food but having a "fast-food fetish" sometimes, too, which all taken together, meant they were able to get along wonderfully.

I was so enjoying the freshness of it all, that I got a bit scared near the end, when it looked like a groan-worthy, contrived and clichéd Big Misunderstanding scene was going to provide a last-minute conflict. To make it worse, this scene was one I was able to see coming miles before. Well, the scene did happen, and though it was contrived (it involved Adam not telling Dani something that any reasonable person would have told her), what saved the situation was the way Dani reacted.

All in all, this was a promising first book, and I enjoyed it.


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