Wednesday, April 01, 2015

So What If It Was Written in 2004?

That's what I ask - so what? I can't review this at my normal place because I believe it's out of print; the publisher isn't selling it any longer. I have no idea if the author has her rights back or not but I'm going to talk about it anyway.

The Sexiest Dead Man Alive by Jane Blackwood
Contemporary Romance
320 Pages
Heat was definitely spicy
Old publisher was Zebra Books, part of Kensington Publishing Corp. I guess you can still snag a copy at Amazon - the big giant.

The title led me to believe that I was getting a paranormal romance but it's not and I didn't. It's about a really famous hunky heart throb that is so traumatized by the paparazzi, that he's become a super recluse. He's so hidden that he's considered dead. A person can't get more out of the public's eye than being dead and gone, right?

There's a problem though. Extreme solitude comes with the pitfall of being lonely, and if that hermit's cooking skills run the gamut of toast, cereal and microwaved meals, things like that can make a person crazy. So what to do? Hire someone to cook for you, right? But, who is going to want to cook for someone they've never seen, nor will ever? That's the first hurdle Declan, the hero, has to face.

The heroine has her own issues. They're more unrealized dreams - she wants to own her own restaurant someday but has to have the funds to do it. She's worked like a dog but things just aren't moving forward fast enough and she's out of options. Until, she sees the want ad.

You know where this is going right? Yes, she accepts the offer. But, even only hearing Declan's voice, Rose has an immediate reaction to his voice in her ears and right away a reader figures out that the heroine is VERY receptive to the hero. Which is good because he's more than a little receptive of her. Even though she can't see him, he can see her and it's becoming an obsession.

So, the courtship begins. It has it's ups and downs like all romances do but Declan's chip on his shoulder is a bit more than even Hercules would want to deal with. Guilt. Later on in the story, the guilt is turned on its ear and what a surprise that was. Talk about levels of angst!

Rose is funny, has a very twisted and off-beat sense of humor and is a wiz with food. She is actually the stronger of the couple as Declan's mental anguish and misconceptions and fear, fear with a capital F, has a tendency to take this stud and mire him down in his own emotional quagmire. He's really messed up. My good opinion of Declan was an up and down yo-yo affair but he's basically a decent guy. I personally liked Rose the best. She is in love with him, but she's a survivor too and that is one personality trait I'm glad the author endowed her with.

I really wanted to give this a solid 4 out of 5 rating but I can't. Mostly because of a glaring edit goof on pages 90 and 95 - the exact same three sentences were used twice. It stuck out like a sore thumb. And, because this is a older book, I even highlighted it to make sure I wasn't imagining it. No, it's really repeated. Even the great Kensington Publishing house isn't perfect.

However, to combat that negative, let me share one sentence that the author wrote in this novel:
"... and gazed up at the few stars bright enough to fight the moon for the sky."

That sentence felled me.
It's simply beautiful, eloquent and a masterful imagery that struck me with wonder. I LOVED that sentence. I highlighted that as well in the book.

Despite Declan's shortcomings, and a few strange side trips, plus a heart wrenching family situation, this is a very entertaining read. It has some strong storytelling elements worth checking out and a romance that had some extremely funny and unconventional moments.

The Sexiest Dead Man Alive may be an older book, and the author might not be writing anymore, but if you are able to find this at a library, a book sale or a used book store, it's a deal to pick up and read. I'm glad I took a chance on it because I actually enjoyed myself.