Book Review – Don't Look Down

I was a bit put off by some of the reviews I’d read but I have to say, this is a great book and I’m glad I ignored them and read it. This one is not a traditional romance. In fact, it breaks several romance rules which is just wonderful. It’s a team writing project between Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. I have to admit that I was wary about Mayer, I mean, an ex green beret writing romance? Would Crusie’s voice get lost?

Their voices work excellently together. I needn’t have worried, Crusie’s trademark humor and great dialog is here. She writes Lucy’s perspective and Mayer writes JT’s perspective. It’s pretty darned seamless I have to say. JT is very likeable but he’s a guy and clearly written by one, which is refreshing in a romance because we don’t often get that perspective and many men who write romance try to do it with a woman’s voice, which makes it awkward, IMO.

JT is a dude, totally. He’s special forces and all of the scenes with weapons and any kind of tactical stuff is very technical and accurate. I know some people were put off by that, I on the other hand, dug it and feel like if you’re going to put stuff like that in your book it should be accurate. It made JT even more sexy, god help me, LOL. Mayer’s expertise shows in that aspect and I thought it worked well. There were way more action scenes than you’d normally see in a romance, but again as I said, I think the book broke rules that needed to be broken so good for them.

The sex/chemistry was really well done. But they’re adults with responsibilities and that’s handled well too. JT and Lucy as a couple was believable and not forced.

Crusie’s Lucy is the kind of heroine I wish we saw more of. She’s strong and smart and self sufficient but not written so overly “plucky” that you hate her and think she’s a dumabass for not accepting help from the hero. When she gets mad it’s for a reason and a believable one. When she does stuff you don’t wrinkle your nose in disgust.

A few nits to pick because I’m that way – I am a big fan of lots of secondary characters but by the end of the book I had to pause several times to figure out who was what and why. It got to be overwhelming.

There was a bit of a problem with me and the “reason” for the caper. Without spoiling, I’ll just say it was a bit thin.

The bad guys? Well, a few of them I thought were “too” bad when they start out as sort of affable jerks. It’s a big jump from affable jerk to multi murderer I think. There’d better be a good reason and in this case, I saw none.

Daisy, Lucy’s sister – the only reason I was able to get past her behavior is because Crusie makes it clear it’s an abberation and she starts to straighten out. But when you write a kid into a book and a parent is messed up, it’s bound to raise hackles. It raised mine. But again, in the end, Crusie pulled it off but I still didn’t like Daisy.

In any case, brava/o to Crusie and Mayer for taking a chance and making it work. Oh and for breaking rules. Cause most rules are made to be broken, especially in romance.

3 comments to “Book Review – Don't Look Down”

  1. Meljprincess
    April 30th, 2006 at 7:46 am · Link

    Thanks for telling us about this book, Lauren. I want to read it and even more so now that you’ve explained it. I like Crusie’s books. But even more I like breaking the rules. *g*

  2. Charlene Teglia
    April 30th, 2006 at 8:27 am · Link

    I think there were way too many people who expected it to be a Crusie solo book even though it clearly wasn’t. I liked it, but I also had time to read the co-blog and see how they worked together and played off each other, so I was really looking forward to reading a collaboration when I picked up DLD. Not a Crusie solo book. In other words, I think expectations are coloring some readers’ perception of the book.

  3. Lauren Dane
    April 30th, 2006 at 8:30 am · Link

    Mel – I think that if you go into it with an open mind and you don’t expect Welcome To Temptation, you’ll enjoy it for what it is.

    Charli – yeah. As a writer, it scares me because you take a risk when you change your routine. Sometimes people don’t want change and even if what you do is good, people are pissed. I can’t write Triad over and over and I imagine Crusie wants to try new things too.