Sunday, 4 December 2011

Dealing Straight by Emily Veinglory

Richard is worn out, used up, and just plain cynical. Son of a wealthy Bostonian banker, he came west to gamble and carouse when his life fell apart. Though a sensitive and moral man, he finds a reckless life easier to bear—since he has no one to care about and no real hopes for his future.

Brave, beautiful U.S. Marshall Wayne Sneddon wants to change all that. He enlists Richard to help him find and take down a bigwig out to get water rights for himself, regardless of the settlers in the way. In part, Wayne needs help, but more, he wants Richard’s company.

In between the shooting, fighting and intrigue, Richard comes to share Wayne’s feelings…but after he finds the courage to share Wayne’s bed, will he find the courage to share his feelings?

Sometimes just about anything is easier than Dealing Straight.

I have no idea where to start with this...

The whole thing was frankly a mess from start to finish, although Melissa, the female pseudo-romantic interest almost made the book worthwhile.

Let's start with the heroes. I have absolutely no idea what they were thinking at any point in the story, not regarding their maybe/maybe not relationship, not regarding the investigation they were on, nothing. In fact for large parts of the book it's entirely possible they weren't. We got a better insight into Richard than anyone else, but even then I couldn't grasp his thought processes. I mean I could see roughly what he felt and what he wanted to do but I have no clue how we got from there to the things he did. I can only assume he and Wayne are both idiots!

However, he's a gambler who we know is successful and also the kind of man capable of shooting someone who draws on him and coming out alive and Wayne is a lawman, so presumably when it comes to the 'plot' of the book we can expect same level of competence, logic, planning and subtlety... Sadly not. Wayne does talk about needing Richard for his sneakiness several times, but I'm damned if I ever saw any sign of him having any. And when we came down to the showdown between him and the bad guy he hesitates, gets shot before he can fire a bullet and, consequently, drops his gun. The next time he confronts the bad guy he does succeed in braining him with a rock but then Melissa ends up killing the bad guy herself.

I'm going to talk about Melissa a bit because she was the most interesting part of the book. She is far too forward to really fit into the setting but by the time we met her I didn't care about that. She's very upfront about what she wants in a man - she wants one she can marry before her father shuffles off this mortal coil, which he's going to do any day, so that she can keep all of her inheritance and run it herself without her evil cousin interfering. If the said Mr Right Now can dispatch the cousin and then drop dead himself in short order that would be just fine and dandy in her book and since Richard is dying of consumption he fits the bill perfectly.

Oh yes, did I mention the consumption? You might think this would make the requisite happily ever after a bit difficult, but apparently getting shot in the chest and having a collapsed lung cures consumption - provided you survive of course.

VERDICT - Oh God, just don't. I would give it 1 out of 5 but thanks to Melissa I'm going to give it 1 1/2 instead.

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