Friday, July 16, 2010

Moving Target by Rosalie Stanton

TITLE: Moving Target
AUTHOR: Rosalie Stanton
PUBLISHER: Lyrical Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 18k)
GENRE: Erotic romantic suspense
COST: $2.50

Wolf Thornton has a job – to kill Anna Winter. Someone powerful wants her dead, but the more he learns about her, the more convinced he is she’s not the threat she was made out to be. When other assassins show up to do the job he’s stalling in, he decides the game has changed. But protecting her just might cost both of them their lives…

My bad luck streak continues, though today’s review isn’t flawed for the same reasons as the last few books. It started out well enough, but halfway through, everything fell apart.

Anna Winter is recently unemployed, having lost her job in Washington, DC. She’s been forced to move back home to Springfield, Missouri, but what she doesn’t know is that someone has been hired to kill her. Assassin Wolf Thornton watches Anna for weeks before making his move, but it’s not the move to kill her. No, he doesn’t think she deserves to die, not after everything he’s witnessed. His move is more personal, because Anna intrigues him as no other woman has in a very long time. It’s cut short, however, when another assassin shows up to finish the job he hasn’t done, only now, Wolf isn’t going to let that happen.

This short novella starts out well enough. Wolf is sympathetic, and his confusion about Anna and his assignment realistic, based on what we see of her. There’s even a certain amount of sympathy to be had for Anna when we get into her POV, though I found her whiny almost from the start. She’s very “woe is me” about everything that is wrong with her life, and she seems reluctant to do anything that will make it better. Wolf sweeps her off her feet in a club, and they have a lot of chemistry on the dance floor, enough to give me hope this will work out, even if it isn’t very long. That hope prevails during the following action sequence, too, when they flee Springfield to try and keep Anna safe.

Then, things start to unravel. It starts with Anna. I already didn’t care for her a lot because of her negative attitude about everything, but my opinion deteriorated during the course of her various conversations with Wolf. In one word? Inconsistent. She worked doing glorified admin work for the Secretary of Agriculture, and displays intricate knowledge of how the political system works, and yet she think Quebec is a country. I think her dimness is meant to be endearing, but when it’s juxtaposed against obvious intelligence, it makes her look either flaky or inconsistent. I’m going with the latter. Because there’s repeated incidents of this throughout the story, enough for me really not like her by the story’s end.

Wolf’s not much better. There’s a lot of banter between the two that I’m sure is meant to make him look charming, but honestly, he comes across like an ass more than half the time. His propensity for pet names, as well as singing his own praises, is eyeroll-worthy rather than seductive, and the good will he’d garnered from me in the beginning dissipated.

If the assassin plot was any good, I might be willing to overlook these shortcomings, but ultimately, the conspiracy around why Anna is being hunted is unnecessarily convoluted for a short novella as well as downright silly in a few parts. Worse, it doesn’t even get resolved onscreen. Anna does something she could (should) have done weeks earlier, makes a phone call, and poof! Problem solved. It’s lazy storytelling and emotionally unsatisfying, and none of it encourages me to try this author again.


7/10 – The dialogue didn’t flow well, and the sex felt manipulative, but the opening and action scene held promise


5/10 – Inconsistent and often the opposite of charming


3/10 – Even more inconsistent than the hero

Entertainment value

4/10 – Though the opening held promise, the story’s too short for the plot it tries to convey

World building

6/10 – Moments are well realized, but the greater picture is grainy and unclear



1 comment:

Rosalie Stanton said...

Thank you for your review. I am sorry you didn't enjoy it, but I am grateful that you reviewed it. I think it's something I needed to hear. :)