Friday, July 01, 2016

Lighthearted LDS Romantic Suspense Doesn't Take Itself Too Seriously (Thank Goodness!) [With a Giveaway]

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Navigating the singles dating scene in the Provo/Orem area can be a killer—it can murder a girl's nerves, her self-esteem, and her faith in both God and men.  Jacklyn "Jack" Wyatt should know.  A 25-year-old Utah Valley University (UVU) student, she's considered an old maid.  At least by her mom.  And her meddling aunt.  And her married siblings.  And her nieces and nephews.  Not to mention every decent guy in her LDS student ward, apparently.  It's no wonder Jack's sister decided to take drastic measures and make her a profile on Eter-knit-ty, an online dating site.  It worked, too.  Not only has Jack's profile attracted the attention of some potential disasters dates, it has also brought a handsome FBI agent to her door. 

Jack is no 007.  She cashiers at Forever 21, for heaven's sake!  Still, when Agent Damon Wade asks her to help with the case of a local woman who went missing after meeting several men from Eter-knit-ty, Jack can't say no.  Scoping out potential killers is way more exciting than writing essays for English lit—even if she doesn't get to drive a sleek Bondmobile.  Jack's survived countless bad dates.  What's a few more?  Especially if her sacrifice helps the FBI find out what happened to Natalie Paul.  At the very least she'll get some free food out of the deal.  

As Jack meets with the men who also asked Natalie out, she realizes just how desperate the singles scene in Utah Valley really is.  She's been bored to death, groped by a human octopus, suffered the side effects of a major sugar coma, and still, she's no closer to finding out what happened to Natalie.  Sure, Damon's annoying, buttoned-up personality is growing on her, but that's a relationship that's clearly going nowhere.  

Jack's convinced the mission's a total bust until she, herself, is threatened.  With the FBI now determined to pull her off the case, Jack has to up her spy game and find Natalie before she, too, vanishes off the face of the earth.  If she wasn't convinced before, now she's certain—dating can be murder.  

You've probably noticed by now that LDS romantic suspense does not top my list of favorite genres.  Despite the number of such novels that are published every year, I've yet to come across one that feels even a little bit realistic.  Too often, they're not just ridiculously far-fetched but terribly written as well.  Biased as I am, I wasn't expecting a whole lot from A Date With Danger, a debut novel by Kari Iroz.  The generic Sandra Bullock-y cover didn't bode well for what was inside.  And yet, I was pleasantly surprised by the story.  Not because the tale is super realistic (it isn't) but because it's light, funny, and more entertaining than I expected it to be.  The novel doesn't take itself too seriously—it's more rom-com than mystery/thriller.  Unapologetic about it, too.  I liked that as well as the lighthearted fun-poking at LDS dating culture (which, thankfully, I never had to suffer much through).  These things make the novel entertaining, even when Jack and her adventures get a little too absurd.  Sure, I saw the big reveal coming from several miles away, but still, A Date With Danger remained a fun, satisfying read throughout.  To my great surprise, I quite enjoyed it.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything. Can you?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and mild sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of A Date With Danger from the generous folks at Covenant Communications.  Thank you!

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5 comments:

  1. I'm not a huge fan of LDS fiction. I honestly also don't always read your entire reviews because it usually contains too much of the plot so I don't feel the need to read the book, but I might give this a read.

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    1. Yeah, it's hard to know how much to divulge when writing a plot summary. I often err on the side of too much :)

      This book is pretty fun. A good fluff read. If you want to read it, I'm happy to send it to you. Just let me know.

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  2. Sounds fun! And yes, I totally thought that was Sandra Bullock on the cover! If Aunt Joan isn't interested, you can send it my way! I just ordered Little Black Lies (wait, is that right?!) it will be here tomorrow!

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha -- the cover is very misleading. Makes the book look more mystery/thriller than rom-com. If Aunt Joan doesn't want the book, I'll send it your way.

      LITTLE BLACK LIES -- yes! I love it.

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  3. I'm relieved to see it didn't take itself to seriously. These books can often turn out so bad.

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