HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing

Get a Clue, by Jill Shalvis

As promised, I did a quick dig in the TBR mountain range, and found this more recent novel by Ms Shalvis. Get a Clue was published by Brava in 2005 in trade size (mass market release on January 2008). The spine says it’s a contemporary romance, but I would say that it’s more a hybrid of romantic comedy with some suspense thrown in.

Get a Clue follows the misadventures of city girl Breanne and burned-out vice cop Cooper as they are trapped by a blizzard in a very exclusive (read: as isolated as the Island of Dr Moreau) vacation house/resort, without power, phone lines, cell reception, or means to escape—but complete with butler, cook, maid, not-so-handy handy-man, dead body and ghostly presence.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

And you think you’ve had a bad day?

City girl Breanne Moreland gets left at the altar, takes the flight from hell to her honeymoon—alone—loses her luggage, and ends up snowed in at a Sierra mountains lodge run by the kookiest staff this side of the Addams family. Oh, and there’s a gorgeous naked man taking a shower in her suite who says he isn’t going anywhere. That’s just the first 24 hours…

Burned out vice cop Cooper Scott is in serious need of this vacation, and he’s not about to give up the only available room because an upset—okay, make that insane—woman is having a conniption fit. They’ll just have to make the best of it—her side of the bed versus his. But when Cooper wakes up kissing the long, leggy Breanne, he wants to show her exactly what the honeymoon suite is intended for. But that will have to wait, because a screaming Breanne has just stumbled on a very dead body. So much for vacation…

If I try to read this book while paying attention to detail, I find all sorts of issues—Breanne contradicts herself often. First she thinks how she always rescues herself and the men she’s been involved with, yet she can’t handle the dark, spiders, or pretty much anything. On the other hand, she does own to that one; in fact, she tells Cooper something along the line of “sorry you keep having to rescue the helpless chick”.

Then she talks about manipulating all the members of her family—the youngest, only girl, etc.—and how Cooper gets the “princess” moniker right. Next she remembers how much her brothers tortured her, and how their pranks are the source of her fear of the dark and of spiders. So which is it, spoiled brat or helpless victim?

Then again, Breanne doesn’t take herself too seriously and has a rather dark and quirky sense of humour (most evident in the little “journal entries” at the beginning of each chapter) that pretty much redeems her.

Which gives me my first clue: I’m not supposed to think too hard. I’m just going along for the ride. Once I got that, I enjoyed the zaniness a lot more. And there is plenty of zaniness to go around indeed, what with a dead body with a missing shoe and a wound that didn’t bleed.

As far as the secondary characters go, they are also superficially weird but, once I read more, they come together into believable—if slightly sketchy—people. For example, we never find out how Dante or Lariana end up working at the house, and the little we learn about Shelly comes across as a bit of info dump (i.e., along the lines of “You know how I was raised in a little town and then I had to leave and…”)

There are some genuinely funny scenes, most of them along the lines of a comedy of errors—such as Breanne hiding under a bed, next to some bloody (in the literal sense) evidence, while two of the staff are having sex above her.

Most of the exchanges between Breanne and Cooper follow one of two themes: bickering to teasing/flirting, and flirting to heartfelt. It’s interesting that Cooper decides, quite early on, that he is willing to see where his attraction to Breanna would take them, in the real world (back in San Francisco), while she spends considerable energy looking for a way out of that. Of course, given that the action takes place in 80 hours or so (just over three full days), her approach makes more sense than his.

Still, I like that there are no promises of eternal love with an epilogue wedding; the novel charts the eventful beginning of the relationship, but doesn’t promise smooth sailing from then on. Oh and the sex scenes? Very well done—which is not easy, frankly.

Once again, I have issues with the plotting but the writing voice is very engaging. While I don’t foresee a re-read of Get a Clue, it gets 6.75 out of 10, and I really need to get some of Ms Shalvis more recent work. You can see an entirely different take on this novel by Rowena here.

You can find Get a Clue at Amazon.com here, and at Amazon UK here.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment