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Dangerous Tides - Christine Feehan This is one of those times when I wonder to myself whether the publisher read the same book I read. Maybe there was some devious plot afoot with two stories being switched at printing, and I just got unlucky enough to get the hideous, annoying, barely literate story instead of the beautiful, interesting and readable one. I actually have doubts as to whether editors have even heard of this book. If so, the ones responsible for giving it their stamp of approval should be fired, and probably slapped. MY inner editor was whimpering in frustration and curled up in a fetal position waiting for the pain to stop while I read this.

I'd never read Feehan before, but her Carpathians series has been recommended to me quite a few times as "Must Reads". After reading this book, which, by the way, was published in 2006, a full SEVEN YEARS after her first book, I'm thinking that's probably not gonna happen. This was just bad in so many ways, and if her writing is this bad after having so many other books published before it, I am afraid to even contemplate the writing in her early books. The fact that these books made bestseller lists, (yes PLURAL lists), baffles me and I actually feel a little nauseous thinking about it.

I'm not sure where to start here, so I guess I'll just list the things that annoyed me. Brace yourselves. This isn't going to be pretty.

Annoyance the First Holy crap, has Feehan ever held a real conversation with anyone? Or at least HEARD one? I'm not sure. The dialogue in this book was so bad, so painfully, awkwardly, uncomfortably bad, that I had to read sections of it two or three times before I believed that it made it into a published book. I've seen kindergarten drawings with better dialogue.
Take this example:
"Yes. I know him and this just doesn't sound at all like him. Whoever this John Sandoval is, he isn't associated with Ed. I'll call Ed and let him know what's going on," Ty said.
"I hope you're right," Libby replied. She turned her attention to Mason Fredrickson, a man her older sisters had gone through school with. "Thank you, Mason. It was courageous of you to back Jackson."
"I was having dinner with Sylvia and she realized you were in trouble. She could tell by your expression. I'm reserve with the sheriff and so is Mike Dangerfield, so we just kept an eye on things. I'll catch you all later." {Mason} sauntered across the room back to the small intimate table in a darker corner of the restaurant.

Ok... Problems:
1. Libby sounds like she's talking to a 5 year old who just got a tetanus shot and is telling them what a brave little boy or girl they are and just as soon as they get home they're going to get some ice cream. Adults don't talk like that to each other, especially not adults who have known each other for any length of time.
2. Mason's speech sounds like it was rehearsed in front of a mirror and then he still had to rely on cue cards to remember all those details that have absolutely NOTHING to do with the scene OR the story. A short and to the point "Sylvia noticed you looked like you could use some help," would have sufficed and been much more natural and fitting.
3. Who is Mike Dangerfield? He's not in the scene, and this is the only time he's mentioned in the entire book. I kept waiting for him to pop back up like a sly "gotcha!" reference, but no.
I know that this is part of a series, but Feehan's own website says that these are stand-alone books. So... unless I'm missing something, I can't see the point in mentioning Mr. Dangerfield at all if he has no part in the story.
4. SAUNTERED?!? Walked, jogged, moved, made his way, returned, strolled... Any of these would be a better, less effeminate choice to describe the exit of a character we are supposed to assume is at least marginally bad-ass, considering that he is a reserve with the sheriff's office and just came to help get rid of troublesome armed men. Sauntered makes him sound like a pansy.

All of that in just one section of dialogue, not even half a page... Imagine that for 353 1/2 more pages.

A huge issue throughout this book is that rather than putting in a expository paragraph, Feehan tries to jam all of a character's history into their dialogue, which comes out sounding like something Data from Star Trek TNG would say... only less human-like.

Annoyance the Second I guess this should technically be 1 1/2, but who's counting? This issue is with Libby... She's a doctor who also has a magical ability to heal people. Depending on the severity of the injuries or illness, she can either give someone energy from her own, or take on their injury in order to heal them. She is drawn to do this... She feels a kind of gravitational pull toward people who need her help. So when she finds Ty injured and near death, she... wait for it... Stops to talk to a nurse about his life history and how he came to be in the area and how he got hurt. She doesn't talk about his injuries, or his vital signs, or his prognosis, but the fact that he went to school with her, that he is brilliant, that his mind can do so much good in the biotech field, that he won the Nobel, that he is an adrenaline junkie... THIS is what she talks about while she can feel "the life ebbing away from him". Yes, those are the words used.
In what world is this scenario natural? What kind of doctor, aside from an utter quack, would shoot the shit with a nurse rehashing this meaningless trivia rather than helping someone stay alive?

Annoyance the Third. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. ...Repetition. ...Repe-- you get the idea.
There is no substitute for good characterizations and believable characters. None. Yet Feehan seems to think that recycling scenes and reiterating character traits is plenty good enough. Every time Libby was home, there was some sort of heart-to-heart with her sisters where rivers of tea were served, and mountains of cookies floated through the air. (Apparently, this is the only food they ever ate. There is one mention of canned soup being made, but no evidence of it being consumed. I have my doubts.)
Conversations were lengthy and abundant, but there was never anything new said... No matter what, it always came back to the same topics, over and over and over.
Descriptions of actions were just as repetitive. Kissing means Ty's mouth "took possession" of Libby's. Violence is someone beating someone else into a "bloody pulp", Libby's description of Ty is always that he's "brilliant"...
It's enough to make a girl want to buy stock in thesauri.

Annoyance the Fourth Details. Between Joe Fields/Fielding/Fields/Fielding/Fields/Fielding I kind of got the impression that this hadn't been proofread all that thoroughly. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if it's not a PNR author requirement to get at least one character's name wrong in the course of a book/series. Looking at you, Charlaine Harris.
There were so many little detail quirks and errors, and ridiculous situations, that I literally had to stop keeping track. From Ty being released from the hospital with a range of extremely painful injuries (including a broken sternum, broken ribs, torn cartilage and muscles) in less than a week, to someone knowing how many bullets had hit someone else before the paramedics actually even looked at the victim, despite the barrage of bullets fired, it just all seemed a bit much to me.
And then there's the fact that someone living in a coastal city outside of San Francisco, presumably not cheap, could say that they'd never seen $5,000 before, and that it's "So much money!". $5,000 is nothing to shake a stick at, but it's certainly not a life-changing amount of money. $50,000 and I could see that reaction. And before you go thinking it's just a typo, let me clarify, it was typed out: five thousand dollars.

Annoyance the Fifth Ty is a biochemist, working on a drug that he thinks has the potential to cure cancer. The problem is that the side-effects in teens causes severe depression and suicidal tendencies, so it's not nearly ready, but BigPharma wants it to go to testing to be put on the market. There's a lot of tension around this storyline, complete with death threats... yet this part of the story is never resolved or finished at all. The main story is wrapped up all shiny with a silver bow, but this side story is never mentioned again once the main story comes to a head. So... basically it's just a really lengthy plot device with a special bonus of being a hot topic issue to opine about.

Annoyance the Sixth I figured out the killer about halfway through. I. HATE. THAT. The clues were there, practically with neon signs blinking "Super Devious Murderer This Way". They could probably have been seen from space.

The sex was decent... It was at least fairly detailed and descriptive, although I think Feehan is paid by the number of times certain words were used. Those specific words being "shaft" and "sac".

All in all... I was not at all impressed by this book. Not at all.