A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I was a little disappointed when I read the review by Jane at Dear Author of Linda Howard's Silhouette Nocturne release RAINTREE: INFERNO. Like many long time Howard fans I was looking forward to her return to category romance and anxious to read this book. I wasn't put off by the review at Dear Author. I don't always agree with every review I read and commented that I would be buying and reading the book for myself. How could I not? It was Linda Howard.

This book is part of a trilogy that Ms. Howard is writing with Linda Winstead Jones (book 2) and Beverly Barton (book 3). The gist of the books is that there are two opposing family/clans the Raintrees and the Ansara. Both families have various pyschic powers. The Ansara are the "bad" psychics and the Raintree are the "good" psychics. In this world all people with psychic powers are part of one of these two families. There are exceptions. Strays. A stray is a person with no family affiliation but has psychic abilities.

One such stray is Lorna Clay. Lorna wanders into our hero, Dante Raintree's life when she decides to gamble in his casino. Lorna tries to discreetly win and fly under the notice and radar of casino security by not winning large sums of money or staying in one place too long. Unfortunately for her Dante has a very astute security chief who spots her and brings her to Dante's attention.

Dante uses his psychic skills to literally push his way through and explore every nook, cranny and memory of Lorna's brain. Yes, Lorna herself characterizes this as "brain rape". I however did not have the same issues with it that some other readers have had. If we are taking the leap (this is fiction) that psychic ability does exist and that there are two opposing families that have remained at war for centuries then Dante's actions as the head of the Raintree clan isn't so hard to understand. He was trying to find out if Lorna was a threat to him and the Raintree. Even the compulsion he puts Lorna under didn't bother me too much because I still had high expectations for the rest of the book.

Lorna is hardly a victim. She seems strong, intelligent and capable to me. She's had to be to survive on the streets by herself for so long. In fact if I have a beef about the whole thing between them, it's that once they clear the air, which took too long, the discussion and absolution of the brain invasion is beat to death. Bad boy he shouldn't have done it, but if he had it to do over again he would. I get it and you don't have to tell me three times for me to understand that. Lorna has much more issue with the compulsion Dante uses. This too goes on for too long and went beyond its purpose and use as a story device.

To me this book lacked substance. At one point I turned to GG and said "where's the beef?". Some of you will remember that line from a long ago commercial that complained about the miniscule sized burger patties. Like those long ago commercials this is all bun and no meat.

To shamelessly steal from Jane's review, this story does have all the expected Howard elements. But I agree with Jane's observation that it lacks the heart of Ms. Howard's best books. I kept hoping the story would turn a corner and make a point, have a plot, build some tension. Anything. It really never did. Of course we are left with all sorts of loose ends so we will buy the next installment. I was pretty irked. I was left knowing very little about the two characters in this story and wondering why I would be following them to the next book.

I do have the impression from the excerpts I've read from each of the next two books that the stories are taking place at the same time which will leave alot of loose ends to be tied in the third one.

It's not that there isn't a good premise here that I would be interested in reading. Stories involving psychic abilities are some of my favorites. Unfortunately, this was a big miss and an even bigger disappointment.


Jane told me about the review of RAINTREE:INFERNO at AAR in the comments to this post. If you are waffling about this book you might want to check it out. Although for as many flaws as Leigh Thomas found with the book, many that are similar to mine, I can't believe it got a 'B' and it was one of the better books read by the reviewer this year. Wow! Makes me wonder if we read the same book.

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Blogger ames said...

That's too bad. But now I won't be buying this book either.

8:20 PM PDT  
Blogger CindyS said...

Have to echo Ames - I was hoping the last book of Howard's was just bad luck. Like you I love ESP stuff but it can only take you so far.


5:56 AM PDT  
Anonymous Jane said...

It was a huge disappointment and I really wonder how many people know that the three books take place at the same time? I'll be interested to see where, if at all, she lands on the bestseller list in a few weeks and then whether the other books sell equally as well.

I didn't think it was a very good set up. AAR gave it a good grade though.

8:04 AM PDT  
Blogger nath said...

Hey Rosie! Very good review :D But it's sad to hear that the book was a disappointment... was actually looking forward to it, although I had some reservations about the two other authors.

9:44 AM PDT  
Blogger Sam said...

It sounds Dreadful. Using psychic powers to subdue someone and push them around makes the hero sound more bully than anything else, and I can't bear men who bully.
Besides, the two houses at war with each other is so passé, lol.

10:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Ames, unless you are too curious and want to see for yourself, you aren't missing anything.

Cindy I can hardly believe I wrote for the world to see a bad review of a Linda Howard book. I've been disappointed before with some of her books, but not like this.

Jane when I finish here I'm checking out the AAR review. This was one of those times that I didn't feel any ambivalence writing a negative review because I really think readers universally will find one flaw or another with this book.

Nath thanks for the nice words. Oddly I told GG last night that I thought this was one of my better written reviews and it was not for an endorsement of a book. Who'da thunk?

10:05 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Besides, the two houses at war with each other is so passé, lol.

|sigh| Yeah, that too, Sam.

10:07 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosario said...

Bummer. For a minute there, I thought you were going to say you'd liked it.

10:53 AM PDT  
Blogger Holly said...

I haven't been very impressed with LH in...well, years. Cover of Night was one of the most ridiculous books I've ever read. I was so hoping she'd be back with this one, but from what I'm seeing in reviews, that isn't the case. I don't think I can buy this book. It makes me sad, too.

12:12 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Rosario, you have no idea how much I wanted to like this book.

Holly, yeah, once you give up on an author it's hard to give them another chance. Thankfully LH has a great back list of books to re-read. I take solace in that.

10:56 AM PDT  

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