Review: Drop Dead Gorgeous

Rating: 4 / 5

I've been on a historical fiction jag and just finished Murder Most Royal by Jean Plaidy. British history especially Henry the 8th and his 6 wives fascinate me and I've read (and watched) many versions of Tudor history. And no one can deny that the political and moral shenanigans of Henry's court make for some intense reading. Tired of all the beheading I wanted a very, very light read and picked Drop Dead Gorgeous by Linda Howard.

All Blair Mallory, survivor of multiple murder attempts, wants is to plan a perfect wedding with cop Wyatt Bloodsworth. Not a big, white wedding because she's already had that version, just a small one with friends and family on the perfect day and date, with the perfect dress, perfect shoes and the perfect cake. Wyatt, tired of her waffling, issues an ultimatum. Organize the wedding in a month or it's off to Vegas to get married. Which in Blair's world is just plain tacky. As she gets into high gear running around to get her shopping done, a near hit and run in a mall alongwith some good old-fashioned stalking cue Blair that she might conceivably have pissed someone else off and things are about to get ugly- dead ugly. And this time Wyatt's not buying it.

First things first, it took me all this time to get around to this book, because I knew it was written in first person and I'm not big on that whole POV. But, what can I say. Ms. Howard's (I should say Blair's) voice had me giggling within minutes of cracking the cover.

Blair is pretty high-maintenace, extremely manipulative and comes across as very shallow. But, she has a great relationship with friends and family and is smart as a businesswoman. And she does need to be a relatively strong personality to deal with Wyatt, an ex-pro-football-player- turned-cop who puts the alpha in alpha male. Her ongoing power struggle in her relationship with Wyatt had me in splits, both fight dirty and fight to win.

If you're lost with the alphaness, here's a scene. Blair is fighting with Wyatt to keep her last name. Obviously he's not backing down. But, a topic that would generally have me spitting mad is defused by Ms. Howard's fabulous brand of crazy; all I did was laugh and keep on laughing.

Not to be towered over, I got to my feet, too, scowling right back at him. Okay, so there's still the ten-inch difference in our heights, but I went on tiptoe and pushed my chin up so we were nose to nose. "Expecting me to change my name while you keep yours is archaic-"

His eyes were narrow, his jaw set, his lips a thin hard line that barely moved as he spit out words as if they were bullets. "In the animal kingdom, the male marks his territory by pissing on it. All I'm asking you to do is change your last name to mine. Take.Your.Pick."


The thing about Ms. Howard's romances are that I've yet to meet one of her cop heroes I didn't like, she writes them all as control freaks, extremely observant, slightly obnoxious, with oodles of sex appeal. Mould meet Wyatt. Cant say much about the good old brain cells though, since it should have been fairly obvious to the highly trained cop that Blair couldn't be lying. Ah well, who cares, I need my share of yumminess in my light reading and Wyatt hit all the required notes.

After the hit and run, the book goes through a slightly dull patch (a couple of pages) where we get to hear every single detail of Blair's day, I wouldnt have been surprised to see her pull out nail clippers at a certain point. But, once the stalker-type is completely established the action picks up pace and remains entertaining ... especially a scene with Blair, a patrol car, overbearing men and handful of notes.

So, finally, the perfect light read and all I can say is that when Ms. Howard is at the top of her game, she's great.

However, the biggest gripe I have is when publishers fail to advertise on their covers that the book is a sequel. I don't think I lost much but to an OC reader like myself, all my enjoyment for this book went out of the window because of the twitch I developed over reading Book 2 first. I overcame it (with difficulty) and do think it's a delightful book but if you are anything like me just get To Die For first.

Updated: Well, I read To Die For and it isnt as good as the sequel. I think Ms. Howard was able to more completely develop Blair's voice and character the second time around making for a funnier, better paced read. It might be a personal preferance too since I like reading about what happens to the characters after much more than I like reading about the courtship leading to the HEA. I'd give TDF 3 points, and I'm pretty sure if I had picked it up first I would never have read DDG.




16 comments:

summerspeaksat said...

too much angst been happening in my life - this seems like the perfect antidote!

cp, have you thought of writing professionally? a novel or at least a column, with your own irresistible brand of humour sharp wit and keen observation, as a book critic?

Smita said...

Ah!!! My kind of book for sure...

But I wonder whether I will get it here or not!!!

Lemme search..

Needless to say excellent review!!!

And yes even I hate when publishers do not number a series of books. It happened with me when I was reading 'The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency'. I was reading the books blissfully when I realised that 2 books were missing and it took me 2 painful weeks to get them both :-(

couchpapaya said...

mags - yes it is that! i have not thought about it seriously because i dont really know how to go about doing something like that ie. where to look for the opportunity etc the other thing is that my reading is wholly dependant on my mood, i dont know if i wld be able to write under constraints. thanks for the vote of confidence, mags :)

smita - first of all, yay for reading a series!! then boo to the publishers!! how is the rest btw, i've only read the first book. better yet, do a review :) and good luck with finding the books!

Angel's Flight said...

Been ages since I read a bloody book...no time..

seriously girl where do you get the time to read...i would love to know...maybe I can pick up on that too..

and no dont say subway...thts sleeping time.. :))

couchpapaya said...

angel - ru kidding!! when i used to travel - train+subway, that was where all my reading got done. i'd even perfected the art of hanging on with one hand and balancing a book in the other, not to mention all the platforms i waited at. so, no excuses girl!! now i read before sleeping every night. i need that time to wind down else i just end up going over things to do or work related stuff in my head ....

Smita said...

2 left to finish the series. One am sourcing but the last one is too expensive as released this year only!!!

But thumbs up for the whole series and me too waiting to review it but need to finish it first :(

eye-in-sty-in said...

ha ha ha - I got a kick out of the territory marking thing...

roflindian said...

Whatever I had to say has already been proferred by Prof. eye-in-sty-in in a rather lucid way. Men are swift and decisive when it comes to speaking their minds on the matter of marking territories ;-)

couchpapaya said...

smita - will wait for ur review then!

EISI, roflindian - :) while re-reading the review i realised i left out a part (this is what happens when u write stuff in ur head first). i missed writing the prelude to the quote - blair's picked the fight because she wants something out of him and the manly man has already banged his head on the table and whimpered and pleaded with her, until she pushes his last button and he blows up. ergo, it's cute! in other words, please dont try this at home kids, however decisive u might be. i refuse to take responsibility for the carnage which will follow :D

eye-in-sty-in said...

you mean asking her to change her name? Gee... I hope its THAT!

couchpapaya said...

i meant asking to change the name with an ultimatum ...

eye-in-sty-in said...

Men only resort to ultimatums when all logic is exhausted! Then they try to be unreasonable thinking "perhaps I'll give her a dose of her own medicine" sadly, its us guys who are left with a bad after taste due to the after effects! No win situation.

Btw, what SHOULD a guy do in such a situation - lets hear your take on it! After all, you are the best person to ask due to your gender qualification! :P

couchpapaya said...

let the girl make up her own mind!

eye-in-sty-in said...

I think the conversation would come into play AFTER sufficient time has been given... (men are not that silly/stupid/dominating!)

couchpapaya said...

oops, i see that i've managed to imply things i didnt mean to, this'll teach me to think before i write. sorry, i take it all back!

eye-in-sty-in said...

that still does not leave me with any constructive feedback!!!

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