Thursday, October 25, 2007

Black Ice by Anne Stuart

Book Description

The job was a Killer.

Living paycheck to paycheck in Paris, American book translator Chloe Underwood would give anything for some excitement and passion – even a little danger. So when she’s offered a lucrative weekend gig translating at a business conference in a remote chateau, she jumps at the chance to shake things up.

Then by chance Chloe discovers her employers are anything but the entrepreneurs they appear, and suddenly she knows far too much. Her clients are illegal arms dealers, and one of them is ordered to kill her. But instead, Bastien Toussaint drags Chloe away, and the next thing she knows she’s on the run with the most terrifying and seductive man she’s ever met. What were his motives – and would she live long enough to find out?

I’ve always enjoyed Anne Stuart’s writing, and this is one of her best. I adore the setting of this story, which is in and around Paris. Throw in an inscrutable sexy man who lives the shadowy life of a deadly double-crossing operative, and a naïve young woman who unwittingly strays into his path, and we are set for a thrilling story.

Two things that kept me reading and finishing this book in 4 hours straight – Bastien Toussaint and the dangerous world he lives in.

The author created a gorgeous character in Bastien Toussaint, not just in looks, but also in the essence of the man. His is the inscrutable and dangerous character, but irresistible and exhilarating at the same time. He is cold and ruthless…and he kills without blinking. When he thaws, it’s degree by degree, and the reader melts with him. He, much more than the heroine, makes the story.

The world building, mood and atmosphere are wonderful. One feels the intense danger, chilling brutality, and uncompromising ruthlessness of the people who live in this world, where one is never sure who is a friend or a foe. When Bastien is on the run with Chloe, it’s one palpitating encounter after another, while he tries to stay one step ahead of being killed.

Chloe, the heroine. *sigh* I have mixed feelings about her. I’m of the opinion that Anne Stuart’s heroines always fall short in comparison to her heroes, and Chloe solidifies that opinion. She’s much less vivid than Bastien…certainly less affecting. In many ways, she’s an exemplary heroine – intelligent, self-deprecating, multi-lingual, naïve and possesses a strong streak of self-preservation. But I don’t think she and Bastien are a well-matched couple. I cannot bring myself to believe that she’s the one to break down his years of icy ruthlessness.

The ending is a little anti-climactic. I wanted more. An epilogue would have gone a long way in providing a more satisfying ending.

My rating4
Sensuality ratingWarm


Many thanks to fellow romance blogger, Kristie (J), for pointing me to the epilogue that Anne Stuart wrote at the All About Romance website, which you can read here (just click on the "link" to the epilogue).


Kristie (J) said...

I loved this one too. The ending is abrupt but she's know for that. I know she posted kind of an epilogue at AAR a while back. I don't know how to find it, but I'm sure some kind fellow romance fan would be glad to help you out if you're interested. I didn't care for the second one quite so much and I've still to read the third one.

Jace said...

Kristie, thank you very much for the info about the epilogue. I found it! Yay! It's a lovely ending. *sniff* Now I'm happy. :)