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Three Wrong Turns in the Desert (2009)

af Neil Plakcy

Serier: Have Body, Will Guard (Book 1)

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617331,144 (3.79)5

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Viser 1-5 af 7 (næste | vis alle)
Aidan Greene, an ESL teacher, travels to Tunis for a job only to find when he gets there that the job has fallen through but in the meantime he has met hunky ex Navy SEAL Liam McCullough and gets involved in his mission, delivering funds to a Tuareg tribe while being chased by various bad guys intent on getting their hands on the money.

This mix of action adventure and romance was competently done with moments of real suspense. As far as I could tell (not very far I must admit) the picture of Tunisia seemed reasonably true to life even if like most places ABROAD it is there mainly as an exotic but dangerous playground for our American boys. One quibble. I thought and the internet agrees that symptoms of anthrax exposure take a week or so to manifest themselves rather than an hour or so.

The central romance, however, follows the strictest cliches of the genre. One of the pair has a macho job, is taller and bigger built, and is not emotionally expressive. The other likes cooking, instinctively cleans and tidies and generally tries to make his man's domestic situation comfortable. He cries as a reaction to stress. He is also on the rebound from a relationship where he felt taken for granted and unappreciated by a high-earning partner. Biological plumbing seems to make no difference at all, the formula WILL be followed no matter what.

Having said that, there are hints that the series might develop on more unorthodox lines and I have enjoyed the author's other series, so I will read at least the next one. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Oct 26, 2018 |
An entertaining story. Both the romance and the suspense were good.

Some of the narrator's character voices were pretty bad but not enough to influence my take on the story. ( )
  CressK | Feb 28, 2018 |
I really enjoyed this book, great read, adventure, romance and fun. Would recommend this book and will now have to see what else Neil Plakcy has written.



( )
  TanaT | Aug 7, 2013 |
I always love a book with a dog. I loved that this dog was a real dog and that the dog fit into the story where it was supposed to and was not stuck where it shouldn't have been. I always put a dog in my stories and sometimes it's hard to make it fit without making it a dog story.

There's lots of action in this, and the pacing is nice. The characters are fairly believable, although Liam is kind of a jerk in the first part. I really felt he was using Aiden for a long time and it took him saying something before I believed he also cared. Note the use of the word "also."

Pros

When the two first meet (after Aiden has seen Liam shower naked), Aiden thinks Liam is even sexier in clothes then out of them. I find this to be true sometimes, even when the man has an amazing body. There's something about a guy who exudes sensuality who can work it when wearing clothes...A lot of times it's when you have to use your imagination that a person is most appealing. It's why I don't find ultra-revealing clothing attractive. I don't want it shoved in my face, I want tantalizing tidbits that make my thoughts go wild.

Aiden is very smart and is very helpful and useful. He is not TSTL. He's extremely observant, more so than Liam.

Someone is described positively as having "a dick of death." I love that.

There's no instalove, just insta-attraction which is excellent, although they do fall in love too fast.

All the Star Wars stuff. I had no idea it was filmed in Tunisia. I'm not a big fan but the facts are interesting. I also noticed that one of the towns is called Tataouine. Wikipedia (such a reliable source) says it's also transliterated as Tatooine among many other spellings. The author didn't point out this link but it's obvious.

The sex was steamy hot.

It sounds like the author really knows Tunisia. He's either been there for more than a couple of days or he did extensive research. I think it's the former. I learned a lot of interesting things about the country, its history, and its peoples.


Cons

When the two first meet, Liam is scary creepy. We learn later why, but Aiden is an idiot for going with him.

Aiden doesn't get scared when he should.

At one point they try to evade police who came up in an elevator so they go down the stairs ten flights or more. Go down one flight, then take the elevator down to the basement and walk up, or down to the second floor, or something. If you walk that far, you give them too much time to start searching for you in the stairwell.

Laim accuses Aiden of playing games when he had been playing them all along.

At one point I felt like I was reading a video game: find this and then take it to this person who will have you do this.

They fall in love too fast but at points where Aiden is worried about Liam being in danger, he words like he's worried about himself, like "what would he do if Liam disappeared?" kind of thing. At one point in the book, the POV is Aiden's and the text says, "Aiden let out a huge breath as he realized Liam was alive. He wasn't on his own." It began to piss me off. Liam did similar things. I blame this on being written by a man as they are supposedly not so good with describing feelings.

Liam is constantly disappearing and not telling Aiden where he's going. Or saying he'll be right back and then isn't. If I were Aiden, I would flip out and turn into a screaming banshee. He is only worried and frustrated and then once Liam gets back and explains, all is fine. Liam for his part only feels bad once, I think, and that was when he made a conscious decision. That's also the only time he even worries about Aiden when the man is on his own.

Aiden is pathetic when it comes to Blake and puts up with WAY too much. He was also a slut and quite disgusting before that. The two traits do not mesh to me. Seriously, they make Brian into the worse possible human they can. He doesn't even like anal sex. Why were they together so many years? Plus, saying a relationship was a mistake and lie after eleven years because it ends is just stupid. People change in eleven years. But regardless, when Brian comes all the way to Tunisia because he is scared Aiden is dead, that shows a decent guy. It doesn't fit with the evil person painted. He could have just called the authorities and had them look into Aiden's disappearance.

Nit picks: There were a couple of discontinuities: At one point Aiden goes over and sits on the couch and then in the next paragraph he pushes back his chair. Another time Aiden accuses Liam of sleeping with him to get to the souk. The first time they sleep together is after going to the souk. They never thank anybody. They appreciate help but they never actually thank anyone. They don't worry enough about water in the desert. They use it to clean themselves up when they only had as much as they could carry on a motorcycle along with all their other stuff. A guy they meet is a Navy SEAL and he wears glasses. I'm pretty sure that precludes being a SEAL.

Aiden refers to wanting something "so bad." He's an English teacher, not just abroad but back in the states so he should know more than basic rules. This adverb/adjective confusion is really common and it drives me crazy. I don't mind if a person who's not educated uses it in dialog, but an English teacher??

One reason Brian is a loser is that he can't stand spicy food. Why do people think this is a character flaw? I don't like it because it disguises other flavors, it overwhelms the food. It also kills tastebuds and it lasts too long. I do like wasabi and horseradish but they don't last long and are less of a taste and more of a feeling.

They put an old couple in danger and aren't really worried about them. They aren't just in physical danger. They could also be put in prison if they survive. Can you imagine what a Tunisian prison would be like? Further, someone helps the old couple and the two of them think it's because the they're the enemy of the people who hurt the couple. Um, how about just because it was the nice thing to do?

Unsafe sex. They talk about it but Aiden assumes he's fine because he got tested every year. But he knew Brian had cheated extremely recently. Unless the test was right before he left the states, which it couldn't have been, he wasn't safe to have sex with.


More nit picks: It didn't happen often, but the author switched POV between paragraphs sometimes. BIG pet peeve. Although the author took creative license in this, he could have used something different: Even the worst variety of Anthrax takes 1-6 days to produce symptoms, not hours. With inhalation, it's usually more like a week. During sex the two are constantly "howling." I need a different word, at least sometimes.

People in this third world nation are WAY too tolerant of homosexual behavior. Although the two are always worried about it, nothing happens and usually people go out of their way to help them because of it. They also keep running into gay men.

Despite all this, I really did enjoy it. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series and I'm glad it's with the same characters. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 because of the dog. ( )
  maybedog | Apr 5, 2013 |
I always love a book with a dog. I loved that this dog was a real dog and that the dog fit into the story where it was supposed to and was not stuck where it shouldn't have been. I always put a dog in my stories and sometimes it's hard to make it fit without making it a dog story.

There's lots of action in this, and the pacing is nice. The characters are fairly believable, although Liam is kind of a jerk in the first part. I really felt he was using Aiden for a long time and it took him saying something before I believed he also cared. Note the use of the word "also."

Pros

When the two first meet (after Aiden has seen Liam shower naked), Aiden thinks Liam is even sexier in clothes then out of them. I find this to be true sometimes, even when the man has an amazing body. There's something about a guy who exudes sensuality who can work it when wearing clothes...A lot of times it's when you have to use your imagination that a person is most appealing. It's why I don't find ultra-revealing clothing attractive. I don't want it shoved in my face, I want tantalizing tidbits that make my thoughts go wild.

Aiden is very smart and is very helpful and useful. He is not TSTL. He's extremely observant, more so than Liam.

Someone is described positively as having "a dick of death." I love that.

There's no instalove, just insta-attraction which is excellent, although they do fall in love too fast.

All the Star Wars stuff. I had no idea it was filmed in Tunisia. I'm not a big fan but the facts are interesting. I also noticed that one of the towns is called Tataouine. Wikipedia (such a reliable source) says it's also transliterated as Tatooine among many other spellings. The author didn't point out this link but it's obvious.

The sex was steamy hot.

It sounds like the author really knows Tunisia. He's either been there for more than a couple of days or he did extensive research. I think it's the former. I learned a lot of interesting things about the country, its history, and its peoples.


Cons

When the two first meet, Liam is scary creepy. We learn later why, but Aiden is an idiot for going with him.

Aiden doesn't get scared when he should.

At one point they try to evade police who came up in an elevator so they go down the stairs ten flights or more. Go down one flight, then take the elevator down to the basement and walk up, or down to the second floor, or something. If you walk that far, you give them too much time to start searching for you in the stairwell.

Laim accuses Aiden of playing games when he had been playing them all along.

At one point I felt like I was reading a video game: find this and then take it to this person who will have you do this.

They fall in love too fast but at points where Aiden is worried about Liam being in danger, he words like he's worried about himself, like "what would he do if Liam disappeared?" kind of thing. At one point in the book, the POV is Aiden's and the text says, "Aiden let out a huge breath as he realized Liam was alive. He wasn't on his own." It began to piss me off. Liam did similar things. I blame this on being written by a man as they are supposedly not so good with describing feelings.

Liam is constantly disappearing and not telling Aiden where he's going. Or saying he'll be right back and then isn't. If I were Aiden, I would flip out and turn into a screaming banshee. He is only worried and frustrated and then once Liam gets back and explains, all is fine. Liam for his part only feels bad once, I think, and that was when he made a conscious decision. That's also the only time he even worries about Aiden when the man is on his own.

Aiden is pathetic when it comes to Blake and puts up with WAY too much. He was also a slut and quite disgusting before that. The two traits do not mesh to me. Seriously, they make Brian into the worse possible human they can. He doesn't even like anal sex. Why were they together so many years? Plus, saying a relationship was a mistake and lie after eleven years because it ends is just stupid. People change in eleven years. But regardless, when Brian comes all the way to Tunisia because he is scared Aiden is dead, that shows a decent guy. It doesn't fit with the evil person painted. He could have just called the authorities and had them look into Aiden's disappearance.

Nit picks: There were a couple of discontinuities: At one point Aiden goes over and sits on the couch and then in the next paragraph he pushes back his chair. Another time Aiden accuses Liam of sleeping with him to get to the souk. The first time they sleep together is after going to the souk. They never thank anybody. They appreciate help but they never actually thank anyone. They don't worry enough about water in the desert. They use it to clean themselves up when they only had as much as they could carry on a motorcycle along with all their other stuff. A guy they meet is a Navy SEAL and he wears glasses. I'm pretty sure that precludes being a SEAL.

Aiden refers to wanting something "so bad." He's an English teacher, not just abroad but back in the states so he should know more than basic rules. This adverb/adjective confusion is really common and it drives me crazy. I don't mind if a person who's not educated uses it in dialog, but an English teacher??

One reason Brian is a loser is that he can't stand spicy food. Why do people think this is a character flaw? I don't like it because it disguises other flavors, it overwhelms the food. It also kills tastebuds and it lasts too long. I do like wasabi and horseradish but they don't last long and are less of a taste and more of a feeling.

They put an old couple in danger and aren't really worried about them. They aren't just in physical danger. They could also be put in prison if they survive. Can you imagine what a Tunisian prison would be like? Further, someone helps the old couple and the two of them think it's because the they're the enemy of the people who hurt the couple. Um, how about just because it was the nice thing to do?

Unsafe sex. They talk about it but Aiden assumes he's fine because he got tested every year. But he knew Brian had cheated extremely recently. Unless the test was right before he left the states, which it couldn't have been, he wasn't safe to have sex with.


More nit picks: It didn't happen often, but the author switched POV between paragraphs sometimes. BIG pet peeve. Although the author took creative license in this, he could have used something different: Even the worst variety of Anthrax takes 1-6 days to produce symptoms, not hours. With inhalation, it's usually more like a week. During sex the two are constantly "howling." I need a different word, at least sometimes.

People in this third world nation are WAY too tolerant of homosexual behavior. Although the two are always worried about it, nothing happens and usually people go out of their way to help them because of it. They also keep running into gay men.

Despite all this, I really did enjoy it. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series and I'm glad it's with the same characters. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 because of the dog. ( )
  maybedog | Apr 5, 2013 |
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