Monday, May 10, 2010

Julie Garwood's "Sizzle" was a Fizzle for me

Sizzle: A NovelJulie Garwood's "Sizzle" was a Fizzle for me

I love a Garwood starting with "Gentle Warrior" and my Favorites being all the Clairborne novels.  When she moved to modern romantic suspense I followed right along.  She writes with gentle passion and love for her romances. Then her modern suspense novels are tightly woven with tension and plenty of action.   Whenever I read a book by her it is always in the back of my mind that she really loves doing this.  Janet Evonovich and Jennifer Cruise are like this.  These ladies really love what they do. 
So I am sure it would be no surprise when I tell you picking up Sizzle was a no brainer for me.  What was surprising, for me, was how big a  disappointment "Sizzle" ended up being.  I am sorry Ms. Garwood.  I really do enjoy your work.  I have read everything you have written but this one just didn't come together.
The idea for this book was really cool.  Young woman finds herself unwittingly in the wrong place at the wrong time, twice!  Handsome FBI agent comes into help.  There are great sidekicks and a strange buffoon for one of the villains.
Wrong place #1:  Lyra Prescott is a film student finishing up her last project before moving onto a great career, she hopes.  Her final project is filming an old park that has turned into an illegal dumping spot.  Someone has found out she has been filming and wants to stop her...permanently.  
Wrong place #2:  While out on a Saturday morning heading to her grandma's house she stops at a strange yard sale where the lady is giving everything away.  Lyra finds a stack of old books that turn out to be collectors' items along with a bunch of cd's she has always wanted.  One of those cds is singing a different kind of tune.
Sounds pretty interesting, right?  I think it would have been a great story if Ms. Garwood had stuck with it but she didn't.  The book starts with the intruduction of a bumbling would be assasin who thinks he is the real James Bond who is working for a bumbling bad guy.  The killer has yet to actually kill anyone because the targets end up offing themselves by falling into a pool and drowning, being shot by a violent spouse and having a heart attack.  When he is sent out to silence Lyra he falls in love instantly with his "Bond Girl" and can't do it.  So the boss sends in 2 other hulking idiots to do the job.  They bungle the job by breaking into Lyra's apartment and attacking her roommate.  Lyra enters during the attack and manages to call 911 while holding off the attackers.  Guess what?  Her roommate just happens to be the sister of FBI Alec Buchanan who calls in a favor from his buddy Sam Kinkaid, another FBI agent who happens to be on vacatiopn,  to play bodyguard to the girls and hopefully catch the assailants. 
To protect the girls they make them leave their apartment so Lyra goes to her brother while Sam and Lyra head to Lyra's Grandmother's home. Enter strange unloving parents and loving but distant brothers all tied together by a wily, little nutty grandmother.  Another plot line begins.
Oh my god I am exhausted writing this synopsis.  It is so convoluted and overdone it stopped being a fun read early on.
Bottom line, while the plot ideas have some merit the story is a yawn.  Of course Sam and Lyra get together and believe me, the usual Garwood chemistry is missing.  Everything is too pat, too contrived.  There was nothing unexpected or exciting. 
Everyone is entitled to an off day whether it is playing golf, baking a cake or writing a book.  This was Ms. Garwood's off day.
Skip "Sizzle" and wait for the next one.  I am sure it will be better...please!