Book: The Target
Author: Gerri Hill
Publisher: Bella Books
One of the best things going for lesbian literature in 2011 is the simple element of easy access - even two years ago, the average reader looking for new and interesting books had to 1) find a book store that carried any stock; b) pray you hadn't already read everything on the self; and iii) hope you could remember the secret handshake as you approached the cash register.
Yeah, well, those days are pretty much over. While I hate to see the decline of book stores, I do a little happy dance every time I log on to one of my favorite publishers, browse their electronic shelves, and plunk down my well loved credit card. I have an e-reader, so I'm even happier with the instant gratification of downloading my book and diving in immediately.
Yeah, that's the life!
The reason I digress with this point is that a whole universe of "new" authors and books have made their way into my consciousness and e-bookshelf. Lately, I've been on a Gerri Hill rampage - I'm a sucker for mysteries, romance, and a "tough on the outside/chewy in the center butch with a gun".
So shoot me!
Seriously, I just finished The Target this morning - the premise of the book is fairly simple: Take one tough and chewy detective, one fiercely independent business woman fresh from a stint on Oprah's couch, and sprinkle in a dastardly dad, some fresh mountain air, and a gaggle of naked women splashing about some secluded hot springs.
Thought that might get your attention . . .
Yep, Gerri Hill is a master in writing about adventure in the back country - the reader gets the sense of the beauty, the serenity, the danger, and the adventure her characters face. She's also quite adept at creating not just likable main characters, but supporting characters that are interesting and real. In the Tori Hunter series, we got to know and really like Detective John Sikes. In The Target we meet Sandra, a chubby divorcee who is transforming from a doormat into a bulldog, and we like it - I just wish we could have had more of her later into the book.
Of course, there are also a bevy of secondary characters in this book - perhaps too many. The book follows a group of women who are on a two-week hike through the Rockies to reclaim their self and confidence. The problem is that with ten women and our two main characters, I tended to get a little confused as to who was saying what - half the number of women would have allowed for the reader to get a better sense of the individuals, without loosing anything.
One of the major head scratchers early in the book was why the Denver Police signed up for the squirrley FBI scheme in the first place. It just didn't really set well with my logic-seeking brain that an FBI agent would waltz into the DPD and say [not a direct quote, here] "we need a chick detective to go undercover hiking with a bunch of ladies to thwart an assassination attempt. And oh, by the way, no one else in the DPD is supposed to know, just tell them she's on 'vacation'."
Really? Vacation? Really?
Two other plot points sort of made me do a double take:
A retired DPD cop with a bad hip is asked to hike in solo [well, she did have her dog with her] and try to hook up with the women once the Real FBI and the DPD start to figure out that something was a little fishy. Okay, I can live with that - she knows the mountains, why not? It's just that she and the dog show up, shoot off a couple of rounds, then disappear.
"Glad I could help, just give me a ringy ding next time you need me to shoot at someone in a deserted ghost town in the Rockies!"
And then there's Jaime and Sara . . . who has a night of steamy girl sex when an assassin, who has already shot two people in your party, is lurking somewhere "out there"?
I'm a Midwest girl, and therefore sort of hardwired with that practicality gene, I just don't see that situation screaming, "I'm hot for you!"
On a positive note, Gerri Hill writes some great characters that find themselves in the midst of some serious evil, they are generally loners who grow during the course of the book, they usually have a wicked sense of humor, and they almost always find their true love.
And I do love a happy ending . . .
So, there you have it The Target was not my favorite Gerri Hill book - but that is a far, far cry from saying it's bad book. Quite the contrary . . . it was a fun and intense cat and mouse thriller, even though it hit a few gravity pits.
On the Rainbow Scale, I'd give it a solid 4.8 out of 6