Monday, December 10, 2012

Don't Look Down

Lucy Armstrong has never directed a feature length movie before but she somehow finds herself on a movie-set with her lying ex-husband, her energetic niece, her lethargic younger sister, two unenthusiastic lead actors, and J.T., an attractive Green Beret. As if things couldn't get worst, Lucy learns that she also has to deal with a hungry alligator and Pre-Columbian green phallic stones [that claim to cure impotence]. Lucy must find a way to finish the shoot and keep everyone alive--while finding time to spend time with J.T.

Don't Look Down is Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer's first attempt at a collaboration. And to be honest, it feels that way. Their writing styles are synced--but it doesn't feel like a melding of two minds but rather like Mayer is mimicking Crusie's distinctive style. Adding a few paragraphs filled with military/tough-guy jargon every couple pages seems to be Mayer's only noticeable contribution to the novel. And even Crusie's up-beat, funny style seems a little dull in comparison to her other works and even when compared to her later collaboration with Mayer, Wild Ride. Crusie and Mayer have their moments of brilliance and humor but their accomplishments are overshadowed by their shortcomings.

To be blunt, the plot is more than a little unoriginal--girl meets tall, dark, and dangerous man; things blow up; all the good guys live happily ever after. But despite its predictability, Don't Look Down is definitely a confusing ride. The plot seems all-over-the-place and there are so many characters to keep track of that it gets overwhelming. But in spite of its faults, Don't Look Down is an entertaining read. Something to take on a long flight or borrow from the library. It is only so disappointing because Crusie and Mayer are dynamic authors in their own right and together they should be a firework show on the 4th of July.

While Crusie and Mayer might not live up to such [arguably] unrealistic expectations, Don't Look Down is fun read filled with action and romance. It foreshadows the amount of excellence that develops from Crusie and Mayer collaborations in the future--once they get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect.

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