Friday, July 12, 2013

Hot Wheels and High Heels by Jane Graves

Skeptic scale: ♥♥

He: An ex-cop, now a repo man. Loner. Tough guy.

She: Blonde. High maintenance. Ex-trophy wife to an embezzling jerk who has absconded and left her holding the bag. 

Conflict: He's just doing his job when he comes to repossess her fancy car, but she's not taking it lying down. She's seen everything she owns be taken away from her in front of her eyes and she just wants to keep ONE thing - her beautiful car. And maybe also a bottle of outrageously expensive wine. They are at cross purposes but she needs a job and he needs a secretary and boom! It's on.

Sooo... I liked the general premise of the book. It was pretty fun, fast paced and a little different from the usual stuff. 

Specifically, I liked:
1) Blue-collar hero who's plenty alpha, but also a nice guy. I don't get to read a lot of blue collar hero stories - and the ones I do, I usually find a bit silly, because the hero can never just be a regular middle-class guy - he's always a contractor who owns his own business, or a chef who owns his own restaurant, or a hot shot detective who doesn't play by the rules. This guy is a repo man - NOT a typical career choice for your dream man (and come to think of it, yeah, he does own his own business), but he's not necessarily running this smooth, money-making enterprise. It's just a regular business, making a regular living. So that was definitely new.

2) I liked that the story focuses on older people falling in love. Again, not something I typically read, so it was something interesting and different for me.

What I thought was dumb: 
1) There was a real lost opportunity here with the poor little rich girl + blue collar working dude interaction. I feel like because the characters were a bit older (in their 40s), we could have maybe seen something a little more nuanced about how the differences in their relative wealth had guided their life-choices. Like, maybe she could have done something useful while being a trophy wife of some rich finance type? Instead, she is just the same old spoiled, vapid creature we hear about on the Real Housewives of Everywhere Hot and Sultry. Meh. 

And maybe the story could have shown how, even though he wasn't necessarily rich, he is still doing something valuable with his life. He also seems sort of defensive about how he isn't filthy rich like her ex-husband. Defensiveness is not hot, my man.

2) I thought the writing, while snappy, was a little on the sit-commy side. Lots of situational stuff that was supposed to be funny, but I think I prefer humor that comes from language rather than a "comedic" situation. Personal preference.

Skeptic's last word: So I liked the writing, liked the plot and kinda liked the characters, but I just thought it was all too silly. The tone was a little too hammy for me to really engage with the characters and I spent most of the time rolling my eyes and how dumb the female lead was. But I have another one of Jane Graves' that will give a read and see whether I still feel that was about the style.

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