Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sins Of The Flesh - Caridad Pineiro

Sins Of The Flesh
Caridad Pineiro
Forever/Grand Central

Paranormal Romantic Suspense

This book crystallizes why I have a bit of a problem with romantic suspense novels. Because there’s absolutely no suspense on the ‘romance’ angle. Case in point: Mick, who we’re told is an emotionless guy who’s been everything from an Army Ranger to an EMT, is now in the business of “solving problems” for wealthy clients. Clearly, said solutions routinely require killing the problem. He’s hired to find one Catherine Shaw, and told that she’s killed someone in a fit of rage brought on by gene therapy gone awry. There are pictures of the dismembered corpse to back up the claims. Mick is being paid to find the crazy woman and cap her. But he can’t, because before he’s even a couple of hours into the job, he’s already totally in love with her because she’s just so beautiful and tragic. No suspense.

Catherine is the far more interesting character. She’s a world-famous cellist felled by a brain tumor. When we meet her, the tumor has taken her sight, but she still manages to play by ear. She even has a friend in the symphony who helps her with new pieces. It’s clear that she’s in the final stages of her disease and it makes sense that she’d agree to experimental gene therapy. The fact that it might restore her sight is just gravy.

The next time we see Cat, she’s running around outside, naked, having escaped from the medical facility. She doesn’t quite know what’s going on, but she has fractured memories of a bloody corpse. Her sight has returned, but she’s seeing strange colors and can’t remember what’s happening to her. She stubs her toe and bleeds yellow-green blood. She knows that’s wrong. She hides behind a tree, looks down at herself, and realizes that her skin echoes the tone of whatever she touches. That’s wrong, too.

Quite early on, Cat and Mick end up in each other’s company when he rescues her from some second-string killer sent in because the client doesn’t trust Mick to do his job. Because she’s injured, Mick calls his sister, Liliana, who’s a doctor in an abusive relationship with a surgeon. I admit that I found the two relationships disturbingly similar. Liliana is being abused but is afraid to leave because her abuser is in a position of power over her career. Cat is weak, terrified, desperate and damaged; and Mick is ok with moving in on her while he’s supposedly protecting her. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it made me uncomfortable.

The rest of the novel centers on finding out exactly what happened to Cat and figuring out what to do about it. Liliana is instrumental in those efforts and is a wonderful supporting player. The complexity of her personal life makes her relatable on a level that Cat is not. There’s a good dose of action and speculative science here, too. I found that to be far more interesting than the romance. Sadly, for me, these two storylines worked against each other instead of being complements. The story has a great premise, a lot of promise, and keeps the pages turning, but, for reasons detailed above, it ultimately it fell flat for me.

Rating: 6
November 2009
ISBN# 978-0-446-54383-5 (paperback)


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