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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Absolutely, Positively by Jayne Ann Krentz

Absolutely, Positively by Jayne Ann Krentz. New York: Pocket Books, 1996. ISBN: 0-671-55170-1

This is another from the Washington Reads list of mysteries set in Washington State. One of the first ones I read, actually, but I've gotten behind in my blogging, I'm afraid. According to the inside jacket cover blurbs, author Krentz is “best known for 'crafting characters you want to know personally.'” [How's that for convoluted quoting! I'm quoting a jacket blurb that's quoting a reviewer (Sandra Brown, whoever she is).]

And in this case, at least, I have to agree. Although I found the first chapter rather off putting, in which scientist Harry Stratton Trevelyan (even the name is somewhat off putting), rather calculatingly decides he wants to have an affair with his client, Molly Abberwick. It just seemed to be one of those sitcom type situations in which you're supposed to be amused by watching the characters squirm from excruciating embarrassment.

But the story quickly got better, once past that initial scene. Harry and Molly end up falling in love, and having a delightful time doing it, although they have to contend with someone who seems to be trying to kill Molly, or at least scare her pretty badly. They also have to deal with both sides of Harry's family—the Stratton side, which are stuck up, haughty and rich, and the Trevelyan side, which come from a long line of ne'er do well and not entirely reliable carnies.

The plot itself and the situations in which the couple find themselves, are not all that believable. But we don't much care, because Harry and Molly are irresistible characters, just as the jacket flap blurb said. The Seattle/Washington setting didn't get that much play, and didn't really help that much with the story, in my view.

The sex drifts slightly towards the kinky, but seems intended to demonstrate the deep level of commitment Harry requires in a relationship. There is also, and perhaps relatedly, a slight leaning towards a recognition of the supernatural, or of psychic powers that could just as well have been left out, in my view.

So, bottom line? Hard to quantify. An entertaining read, well written, with sympathetic characters, but includes several elements that were not entirely believable, or quite to my liking. So, an absolutely, positively mixed bag, in my view. Recommended, but not without reservations. Give it a try, and decide for yourself!


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