(Mini) Book Review: Shiver by Karen Robards

Samantha Jones is the best damn repo woman on the books. The streetwalkers, the drug pushers, the bands of looking-for-trouble punks haunting the mean streets at midnight don’t intimidate her. These are her people. The guy she finds bound and bloodied in the trunk of a flashy new BMW is a different breed entirely.

Daniel Panterro knows he hasn’t seen the last of the vicious drug runners who kidnapped him from protective custody and left him for dead. His only recourse is to take his pretty savior and her four-year-old son hostage and force her to help him. With ruthless killers stalking their trail, Sam must trust this handsome, menacing stranger. But as she relinquishes control, she feels an unmistakable desire. What is the price of falling in love with a man who operates on the edge of danger–her heart, her life…or both?

Shiver by Karen Robards cover

I finished Shiver back on January 22nd, and have been poking at this review and debating if it was worth posting since then. Shiver is one of those books that didn’t work for me, and my complaints boil down to my personal tastes, and I can’t fault the book for not lining up with my tastes. I’m a bit bummed it didn’t work for me, because the back of the book summary hit a number of my happy buttons: a tough heroine (with a young kid!), a morally ambiguous hero willing to take her (and her kid!) hostage to save his own skin, and, of course, killers determined to hunt them down.

While the heroine, Sam, hit my happy buttons and then some, unfortunately we don’t spend much time in her world. The streetwalkers, drug pushers, and bands of looking-for-trouble punks might be her people, but I have to take the back of the book’s word for it. All they are is brief window dressing before Sam finds herself stuffed in a trunk with a bound and bleeding Daniel Panterro.

And that’s where my disappointment starts. Daniel hit that annoying spot between my shoulder blades and just dug in. At first, I thought it was his undercover identity, but no, it’s him. He calls Sam baby doll long after she tells him not to. Which…doesn’t seem like that big of a thing all by its lonesome, but it sums up his attitude towards everyone, but especially Sam. It doesn’t matter what anyone else wants or thinks. He knows best and is going to do what he wants, and if pretty little Sam protests, well, she’s cute when she gets all riled up.

I wouldn’t be so bothered by Daniel in an urban fantasy or paranormal. I do love alpha heroes in all their alpha bastard glory, but I prefer the story reality to be pretty far removed from mine. A thriller reality isn’t quite far enough removed for me to ignore the little voice reminding me that I’ve known people like Daniel, and it’s annoying dealing with them.

So it was annoying dealing with Daniel as a hero. There were many points where I wanted to reach into the pages and give Sam a good shake while saying, “He’s an asshole, and you can do so much better. SO MUCH BETTER!”

The book at least ends on a happy for now note, so I can imagine Sam’s best friend Kendra doing the shaking and shouting for me a few months down the road. And Sam listening, because she’s a smart cookie (who can do so much better).

(Crossposted to Booklikes)

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