Silent Storm, by Amanda Stevens

>> Friday, May 05, 2006

I can't even remember why I bought Silent Storm, a Harlequin Intrigue by new-to-me author Amanda Stevens.


The kind a small-town girl like Marly Jessop had rarely — if ever — seen in the flesh. Deacon Cage arrived in Mission Creek, Texas, like a specter in the night, stealthy and secretive. And his ability to stir Marly's feminine senses was like no other man's....

But she didn't have time for female fantasies. As local deputy, Marly had her hands full with a rash of suspicious suicides. Could there be a link between them and the killer Deacon came to catch? And would Marly survive her run-in with the desirable Deacon?
There seems to be an interesting idea behind this book, but I'm afraid the execution was so ho-hum that it didn't really succeed in engaging my attention. Very average book: a C.

Tiny Mission Creek, Texas has been experiencing an unusual rash of suicides, with three people killing themselves in the past couple of weeks. Marly Jessop's a rookie deputy in the sheriff's department. She's pretty sure she's not cut out for the job, and finding the fourth suicide victim doesn't help build up her confidence, considering this brings back memories of finding her grandma's body hanging from the rafters when she was a kid.

Right after leaving the victim's house and calling for back-up, Marly runs into Deacon Cage. Deacon's a newcomer in town, and he's come to investigate the suspicious suicides. See, Deacon was part of a weird experiment in his youth, an experiment which was trying to create some kind of super-soldier army, made up of people with mind-control powers, and he's pretty sure the suicides are the work of one of his co-experimentees who wasn't lucky enough to be rescued, as he was.

As I said, this had the potential to be a great scary story. The setup is fascinating, and Stevens creates an incredibly eerie, creepy atmosphere. But the story never really gells.

Part of the problem is that this is very obviously not the first story about these super-soldiers, and it shows. This very Big plot element is presented in an anticlimactic, matter-of-fact way that just doesn't work. The whole thing ends up feeling half-baked and underdeveloped.

And then there were the characters themselves, who are pancake flat. Marly was really blah, even a bit of a pushover with her father and her ex-fiancé, and while Deacon seems to be likeable enough, I never got a good sense of who he was. And his behaviour didn't always make sense... take his decision to immediately confide in Marly about his past. No way there had been enough interaction between them at that point for him to make such a momentous decision!

And that brings me to something else: we're told these two are really powerfully attracted to each other, that Deacon is incredibly hot for Marly from the beginning, and that Marly can barely resist his advances, but I never believed it for one minute. Their interactions were as flat as they were.

*Sigh*. I hate it when a book with potential wastes it like this!


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