Icebreaker, by Deirdre Martin

>> Saturday, April 20, 2013

TITLE: Icebreaker
AUTHOR: Deirdre Martin

PAGES: 304
PUBLISHER: Berkley Sensation

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Romance
SERIES: Part of the New York Blades series

Good thing high-powered attorney Sinead O'Brien has a rule about never dating clients. Because Adam Perry, the newest star of the New York Blades-and her newest client-has her headed for the penalty box. If only she could prove he's just another jock...

Adam's been charged with assault after a borderline hit on another star player, but off the ice he's a private, no-nonsense guy who knows the Blades are his last shot at Stanley Cup glory. Assembling her case, Sinead tries not to get distracted by Adam's dazzling good looks or strong work ethic, but she quickly discovers that there's a wounded man under that jersey, and she's starting to fall for him-hard.

Now Adam's having trouble focusing on the goal with Sinead in his sights. And Sinead is tempted to break her 'no dating clients' rule. Can they play on their newfound feelings without penalties?
Sinead O'Brien is one of the best lawyers in town, so when the star player of the New York Blades (the ice hockey team this series is built around) lands in trouble, they come find her. Adam Perry's done nothing outside the rules of the game, but after he did something called an 'open-ice body check', the district attorney from the opposing team's town has decided to charge him with assault.

Adam initially finds Sinead cold and is frustrated that she doesn't understand hockey, while Sinead is just as frustrated at Adam's brick wall impersonation, and his refusal to do anything more than answer her questions with monosyllables. But then they start talking to each other, and begin to see that under their tough exteriors, they actually share quite a lot.

I read about half of the book before giving up. It was a combination of things. First, Sinead didn't ring true to me. She's supposed to be a driven career woman, but didn't appear to have that much work to do, or to find it particularly important or interesting. Also, she's supposed to be a sensible, mature woman, but she behaved like a 12-year-old sometimes.

I thought I'd like the relationship between her and Adam, but I'm afraid I found it boring. I loved the idea of having a romance between these two people who at first seem so different (uptight lawyer, professional sportsman), but actually turn out to be very similar in terms of work ethic and worldview, but it just didn't engage me at all. I didn't feel they connected very well, and there didn't really seem to be any obstacles to their relationship at the time I gave up.

And then there was the fact that the writing felt very simplistic. This might be because I'd just finished A Gentleman Undone, by Cecilia Grant, so the contrast was huge. It was all tell, tell, tell, not much show, and I found it annoying.

I also got very bored of the preaching. There was a bit on hunting that made me roll my eyes, but it was mostly the stuff about violent play in hockey. We're told over and over again that old-style hockey is the best there is, and that the commissioner is wrong to try to tone down the violence because true fans love old-style hockey. Martin's whole argument seems to be that players accept the risk when they decide to play in the NHL, so anyone saying any different should butt out. I wasn't convinced. Workplace safety and discussions about acceptable risk are kind of my area, so I couldn't help but make the obvious opposite arguments. Should someone who simply wants to play hockey professionally have to make that choice at all? Is it right that the choice is between playing professionally and risk very bad injuries or not play professionally at all? It's one thing if we're talking about an occupation that is unavoidably high risk (if you want to go into deep-sea fishing, you really are going to have to accept quite a high risk to your safety), but it sounds like those sorts of hits Adam specialises on could be phased out, if it wasn't for the fact that some (most?) fans like them. Not to mention, are 18-year-old men in position to make that choice rationally and in an informed way? Knowing what I know about risk-processing, I doubt it. Now, I don’t know anything about hockey, so I’m prepared to be told there’s another argument for keeping those types of moves on the ice (much in the same way I was told that lowering the fences in the Grand National would actually be more dangerous for the horses, because it would make the course faster -no idea if that’s actually true, but it’s a way of looking at it that goes beyond the first, obvious impression). The thing is, those were not the arguments Martin was making, and I got really tired of the one-sided view, especially since it was one I had so many issues with.

So, book closed.



Brie 22 April 2013 at 13:39  

I quit Martin's books a few years ago, so this one didn't even made my "maybe" list. It's the curse of the never-ending series. Authors can't quit it forcing readers to quit them instead.

Rosario 23 April 2013 at 10:46  

I read the first two and liked them very much, but the rest of the series never tempted me that much. And now, after this, I really aren't going back!

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