Mr. Perfect - Linda Howard

In keeping with that Romantic Suspense kick I've been on lately, I had rummaged through some lists for popular books in the genre and came upon Linda Howard's name with several books to her credit.  I figured, "Why not?" and then went to the library to check out two of her books.


The premise of this one seems pretty interesting: Four women get together and inadvertently create a list detailing the characteristics of their ideal Perfect Man.  As the summary states, the rest of the story becomes sinister when the women begin to die off one after another, leaving our protagonist, Jaine in a dangerous situation as she needs to find out what's going on before it's her turn.


It seems like such a mundane, harmless thing among girls and their girl talk.  I remember the days of my high school and post-high school years getting together with my own small group of girl friends.  A conversation like this is bound to come up at some point in time.  We would talk about our ideal men and what type of men fit our fancy... stuff like that.  The conversation has so much room to get out of control, but it's all in good fun and fairly private amongst us girls.  So it's kind of intriguing that something that starts off as a silly joke would turn up with dead women.


Anyway, so far I'm not quite sure how to feel about this book.  For one, it's written rather well with lots of nice descriptions that give you pretty good images.  There's an underlying tone of humor that clashes with the idea that this book is a murder mystery; unfortunately, I get this feeling that the jokes made in this book are at the expense of degrading certain stereotyped people within the book.  Rather than finding it funny, I'm finding it a little crass.  But whatever, maybe things will get better.


I'm not quite taken with these women either, but who am I to judge a bunch of judgmental females -- my friends and I aren't exactly the classy type.


Of course, I might also be a little offended by Jaine's line of thinking that anyone who sleeps irregular hours during the daytime and is out all night must be a criminal, a drunk, or a drug dealer.  Because, obviously, only immorally abnormal people would be up all night long, wouldn't lead regular nine to five hours, and sleep the afternoon away.  Right...


I don't know how many times I've heard people asking me if I've been up partying at the bars all night when I mention that I didn't get to sleep until around eight in the morning, sometimes a little bit later.  Whenever I mention to dinner companions that I had just woken up around noon (sometimes around 2 P.M.), I get the standard, "Well it must be nice to be able to sleep in so late!" or "Don't you think that's a little late for sleeping in?"


And these are all people who have been told many times before that I am a 3rd shift worker.  My eight hour shift starts during the nighttime and ends in the morning.  Even after I get home from work, I still need to find some time to wind down before heading off to bed.


Pray tell, if I'm not going to sleep my morning away, just when do people expect me to be sleeping?


To this day, people still don't understand 3rd shift.  I know it's not a normal shift or a normal lifestyle, but someone has to do it and so it might as well be someone who enjoys it.


But anyway, I've gone off on a complete segway (and a soapbox to boot).


My point is, I've gotten a bad impression of Jaine already just because of her assumptions.  I don't care that her neighbor really is one rude S.O.B. who doesn't seem to understand how to communicate with people appropriately without yelling.  But in his defense, being woken up in the middle of the day after working all night long does tend to make a person cranky.  I'm not saying he couldn't have been a bit more polite about it since Jaine didn't know that he's a cop and works odd end hours regularly.  I'm just saying that Jaine jumped the gun and made her wild assumptions about him unfairly without even knowing who he was to begin with.


And thinking that he's a drunk just because he's out until the wee hours of the night doesn't help.


The action hasn't quite started in this criminal mystery yet.  As it is, crime thrillers are usually more interesting if someone dies at the outset (or close to the beginning).  The last time it took a murder mystery about a quarter of the book before the first victim was killed kind of bored me.


Yeah.  I might be a little dysfunctional about this stuff, but it IS fiction, and it IS a murder mystery, and it IS supposed to be suspenseful and thrilling.  It's what's expected, y'know.  The tone of this book feels more like a contemporary romance with a side of tacky humor though.


I'm holding out hope that things will start progressing more ideally though.