Review: Dangerous by Diana Palmer

FTC disclaimer: Digital review copy received from publisher through Netgalley

I don't think I've read a worse contemporary book in years. I'm stunned that publishers considered Dangerous worthy of a hardcover release. It's clear that Diana Palmer has zero familiarity with gaming. Equally clear that she's not all that familiar with law enforcement. In fact, based on her writing, I'm wondering if she's familiar with 21st century life at all.

Our hero, Kilraven, is a fed working undercover. He's still haunted by the murder of his wife and three year old daughter 7 years before. And while he's aware that Winnie, our young heroine, has a crush on him, he's content to ignore her in the hopes that her feelings will fade with time.

Winnie has watched and loved Kilraven from afar for a long time. She keeps a frail hope alive that he will one day return her feelings. Her work as a 9-1-1 dispatcher keeps her in at least peripheral contact with him--even resulting her saving his life once due to her somewhat supernatural intuition.

Kilraven is at times callous, contemptuous of her feelings, and an ass. I really didn't care that he was still suffering. One minute, he avoids Winnie. The next he shoves his tongue down her throat. Followed by a stupid plan to use a "temporary" marriage as a cover for questioning a suspect.

“What a sweetheart you are,”he ground out as his mouth suddenly ground down into hers.

Far worse than the "telling" way Palmer writes are the glaring inconsistencies in characters and plot. First, she shows our hero drinking a wine cooler--something most guys wouldn't be caught dead drinking--then a hundred pages later he claims he doesn't drink? Then we have the super naive, innocent TSTL 9-1-1 dispatcher who later references bondage? Um...yeah.

I found the notion of "waiting until marriage" contrived and incredibly unbelievable here. As if a fake marriage was necessary to absolve these two people of having sexual feelings for each other. As if those feelings were unnatural or shameful.  And as if divorce after sex was somehow more appealing than sex outside of marriage.

And as for the writing...I don't know where Palmer lives (or in what universe, really) but where I've lived, one doesn't "activate" a television. Unless you have a Wonder Twin power. You don't "activate" a cell phone either, unless you're turning on service for the first time. It's called turning it on. Powering it on. Clicking the remote.  Not activating.

Equally annoying are her attempts to sell the reader on her gaming knowledge. In what are clear info dumps instead of characterization, she goes on and on about "gaming discs"-hint, they're just called games--then proceeds to practically door-to-door salesman pitch an Xbox 360 console complete with the names of various games. I don't need to know the entire game library owned by the characters. Especially when it seems obvious the author probably walked into an electronics store for a crash course on gaming and has never touched a controller or played a game.

I found the writing incredibly poor. Lots of telling rather than showing, which is understandable for a new author, but downright unforgivable for a veteran author like Palmer. But what really killed this book for me was the fact that the author seemed to be writing from isolation. Like she was stuck in a cultural time warp experiencing life through someone else's eyes. That prevented me from connecting with the characters, the plot, everything. And ultimately caused this book to fail badly with me.

My Grade: D


  1. My guess? She wrote the book 30 years ago (when, uh, wine coolers were generally available) then dusted it off, "activated" some more modern bits, and sold it.

    At least that's the best defense I can come up with absent reading the book, and I'm not going to do that.

  2. @Magdalen

    You know, that is entirely possible. But you'd think *someone* would have done some serious copyediting here. Or at least noticed how truly awful it was and not chosen THIS book to be released as a hardcover.

    She obviously still has a fan base somewhere, but I can't see even the sometimes culturally isolated grandmothers not noticing something wrong with this one.

  3. You'd be surprised at how many people (so many of them in my family--ugh!) are still into wine coolers. *hangs head*

    Great review! I love that you bring the snark!

    -Connie @ Constance-reader.com

  4. @Connie,

    LOL. I know a lot of people who still drink wine coolers (they still make them, so someone has to be drinking them). But unless they're Mike's Hard Lemonade, it's generally all women. Definitely not a world-weary cop.

    And I'm not normally so snarky, but this book was an insult. And to think the pubs are marketing this as a hardcover--when those are so rare for the romance genre--just peeves me off even more.

  5. I have to say this book was a huge disappointment. The chemistry between Kilraven and Winnie was not there. I felt more chemistry between Jon Blackhawk and his secretary. This was not one of Diana's better books. I have some of her older books as well as her newer books and her older ones are much better. She has tried to bring to many past characters into her new books and it is taking away from the story. I fel totally ripped off having to pay hardcover price for one of her worst showings.