2000 Kisses

Bride of the Mist

Christmas Knight

Going Overboard

Key to Forever

The Perfect Gift

Season of Wishes

My Spy by Christina Skye
(Dell, $6.99, R) ISBN 0-440-23578-2
After a brief passionate love affair, Annie OíToole, the owner/manager of a California oceanfront resort spa Summerwind, sees Sam McKade, whom she believes to be a businessman, sail off in his boat. She next sees him on television dressed in Navy whites rescuing a school bus full of children which ends with him being badly injured. Heís not a businessman, heís a SEAL. The Navy surrounds their hero with complete secrecy. Annieís sister Taylorís inquiries into Samís condition go unanswered.

Unexpectedly, arrangements are made for Sam to recuperate at Summerwind. Ishmael Teague (Izzy), whoís compared to Denzel Washington (and was also a secondary character in the authorís Going Overboard), arrives to oversee his recovery and handle security. In addition to his physical injuries, Sam is suffering from amnesia. Annie agrees to reduce the number of guests at Summerwind so that Samís anonymity can be protected. After he arrives in the dead of night, she is distressed to see her lover so unaware of their mutual past, but she is instructed not to divulge anything. Sam is to remember things on his own.

The memory may be weak, but the chemistry is still strong. Sam and Annie are irresistibly drawn together. Annie has other concerns involving the resort: she has demanding guests, problems with the resortís physical facilities, and her irresponsible writer sister has reappeared expressing a desire to involve herself more in the resortís management.

Meanwhile, a Navy admiral believes that Sam has critical information that will affect national security. Sam struggles to reclaim his lost memory, and someone is out to kill him to ensure that he never does.

My Spy is another retread of the overused amnesia-without-brain-damage plot. Although it features some well-drawn characters, there are too many holes in its cliched plot to rate it above acceptable.

Fiction readers are willing to tolerate a lot of improbable things. The plot may be farfetched or even utterly impossible. Nevertheless, we accept it as long as the characters exhibit normal human reactions.

Imagine this scenario. Youíve been badly injured and are suffering from complete memory loss. Do you think you might have a few questions? Such as who am I? What happened? Where am I from? Do I have any family? Mother? Father? Wife? Children? Second cousin twice removed? Whereíd I go to school? Whatís my favorite sports team? Favorite movie?

Thatís where My Spy fizzles. After an episode of extraordinary derring-do, the hero awakens with total amnesia and devoid of any curiosity. He devotes all his time to exercising to regain his physical abilities and to making moves on the heroine. And no, he isnít suffering from brain damage - he just doesnít have a single question that doesnít involve those two things. Sure, it makes sense that Annie will be attracted to Sam - heís six-four, incredibly handsome, sexy as sin, and they had some really hot times together. And it makes sense that Sam would be attracted to her - sheís described as resembling Meg Ryan (coincidentally, several characters seem to resemble film stars) and is the only female within reach of his testosterone. If mega-dose lust is a symptom of a successful recuperation, Sam is getting pretty healthy pretty fast.

It just doesnít make any sense that he scarcely has a thought in his brain that doesnít center on Annieís attributes.

The suspense subplot gets perfunctory treatment (call it James Bond Lite). My Spy isnít a very apt title. There are frequent mentions of the danger Sam is in and peripherally Annie as well, but itís all fairly vague. The identity of the villain comes out of left field with insufficient foundation. Itís as though the author knew she needed a villain and here was a character with nothing else to do.

They are some positive aspects to My Spy. The sexual tension between the hero and heroine is intense. In addition to the two main characters, it features some vivid secondary characters, particularly Annieís sister Taylor and the enigmatic Izzy (yígotta feel for a guy with a nickname like that). I hope that the author plans to write a book where Izzy can move up to hero because heís plainly got the potential. Moreover, the story moves along smoothly. It maintained my interest throughout, and I had no difficulty sticking with it to the end.

If youíre looking for a book with great sexual tension and hot love scenes, this might be worth considering. But it has too many weaknesses including the heroís unrealistic amnesia and a too-expedient villain for me to recommend it.

--Lesley Dunlap

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