Sex, Lies and Online Dating, by Rachel Gibson

>> Monday, July 17, 2006

RenéeW has just posted her review of Sex, Lies and Online Dating (excerpts, etc.), by Rachel Gibson, and a few people mentioned something that sounded just like me. Gibson has only really published one book that I really, really liked (the wonderful See Jane Score), and yet I keep buying all her books.

Detective Quinn McIntyre figures women will be the death of him someday. Then he meets Lucy Rothschild and learns that day maybe sooner than he thought.

What is it about men anyway? Bad cars, bad jobs, even bad teeth, nothing convinces them that they can’t snare a Size Two Babe with a D cup chest. And after way too many internet dates with men named “luvstick” and “Bigdaddy182”, Lucy Rothschild should know.

But sitting across from her now is hardluvman, and he seems different — sensitive, honest, and hot! He says he’s a plumber, while Lucy claims she’s a nurse! She’s really a mystery writer, dating on line while researching her next book. Hey, everyone lies a little, don’t they?

But Quinn’s really an undercover cop hunting down a serial killer, and he sees Lucy as one of his top suspects. And while he could really go for this smart, sexy woman with the killer bod — if that’s the only thing “killer” about her — he knows he needs to wine and dine her and discover the truth. Hey, he realized the dating scene can be deadly — but this is ridiculous!
Well, I'm afraid this wasn't another See Jane Score. While it had some interesting moments, I just didn't truly connect with the characters and in the end, some very shameless sequel-baiting lowered my grade even further. A C+.

Lucy Rothschild and Quinn McIntyre are both masquerading under false identities when they meet. Lucy, a mystery author, is going on online dates (rather, real-life dates with people she meets online) as research for her next book, while Quinn, a cop, is undercover investigating a female serial killer (one who, he suspects, meets her victims online).

When some pretty strange coincidences put Lucy right at the top of the suspects list, Quinn has to push hard for a relationship with her, on the hope that she'll try to kill him. Which, unfortunately, puts him in quite a quandary, since he's powerfully attracted to her, and after a while, it's hard for him to remember that she's very probably a killer. Lucy, meanwhile, is just as attracted to Quinn, even while realizing that something doesn't ring completely true about him. And when the truth comes out, the fun begins.

This part I very much liked. I especially enjoyed the tension in Quinn knowing that Lucy's going to be upset by what he's doing, if she's not the killer, but being helpless to do otherwise. And when the truth comes out about Quinn's house being wired on *that* night, I thought Gibson had their reactions well. But other than that, both before and after these interesting moments, the story didn't succeed in completely engaging my attention. I mean, when I picked it up, it was pleasant and flowed well, but after I put the book down, I wasn't all that anxious to pick it up as soon as possible.

I think the main problem was that I didn't particularly care about the romance. It was nice, but not earth-shattering, and the characters were neither too interesting nor too likeable. I've read veritable raves about how Quinn is soooo amazing, such a realistic man, but I just didn't see it. He was... ok, I guess.

Oh, and there were plenty of annoyances. Nothing that will ruin a book, but things that had me wrinkling my nose for a moment. Stuff like, for instance, Quinn's favourite expression: Jesus H. Macy. Just what the hell is that? Gibson ssed it way too much! Oh, or Quinn's mother, presented as meddlesome but loveable, while for me, she was terribly obnoxious, even on second hand telling. And how about the whole thing about Lucy having to do online dating to get ideas for her new victims in her book? Weird, especially because authors so insist on how their writing is fiction, not related to their real lives, etc. What is Gibson implying when she shows Lucy not being able to invent a victim for her books and needs to actually meet an annoying guy before being able to kill him in her story? She even says she fears otherwise people will start noticing that she always keeps killing the same men!

Still, I was going with a B- right until the epilogue. That whole thing was really, really shameless setting up of Clare's sequel (and the only thing really about Lucy made me reconsider my liking her.... what kind of person insists on prom-looking pink and tulle for the bridesmaids? I've always wanted to know why a bride would do that to her supposed friends). I'm seeing that kind of thing more and more, that desperate "buy my next book, buy my next book" to the detriment of the story the author is supposed to be telling now, and it pisses me off.

And actually, the whole sequel baiting throughout the whole book, setting up the four friends' books, while more subtly done, ruined the one red herring that sounded interesting. It was so obvious that Maddie would get her book, that I couldn't really suspect her. Though, if it wasn't her, just how DID the killer know all those details in Lucy's book? I don't think Lucy would reveal so many DETAILS in her chats!

Eh, well, seems like some things about SLAOD annoyed me more than I had thought!


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