Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"Sleeping with the Fishes" by MaryJanice Davidson

I'm back, bibliophiles! Sorry for the absence - last week was just not a good week. In fact, the only thing that did seem to go in my favor was time to read. I finished off 3 books, and will do reviews of all by the end of this week.

First up is "Sleeping with the Fishes" by MaryJanice Davidson. If you've read the "Undead and Unwed" stuff, starring our lovely if somewhat shoe-obsessed Betsy Taylor, you already know that MJD has a penchant for writing quirky characters. Even her non-paranormal romances have them! Her newest book is no different.

Fred is a mermaid. Yep, sorta like Madison in Splash, that classic Tom Hanks movie. Except that she's not at all like Madison; the only thing she seems to have in common with her fictional counterpart is a tail. Fred, aka Fredrika Shea Bimm, works on land, was raised by her human mother, and has a raging allergy to shellfish. She can talk to the fish but can't swim in a wetsuit. She can tell when there's an imbalance in the chemical makeup of the ocean but gets seasick on a boat. Yep, Fred is different, all right!

Fred has the perfect job - she takes care of the fish in Main One at the New England Aquarium. It requires almost no human interaction and if she's there after-hours, she can even shuck the wetsuit and swim as mer-self. It also gives her a chance to get some unique insights into those fish, mostly finding that they consider her the "fish girl" and that they like to listen to popular 80s music. All is right in her little world, until two very different men enter it.

The first is Dr. Thomas Pearson, a water fellow (aka marine biologist!) investigating strange levels of toxins in the Boston Harbor. He's cute, and he's quite taken with Fred, especially when he learns her secret early on. The second man is actually a mer-man, Prince Artur of the Black Sea, who has also come to investigate the water. He considers Fred his to-be-queen almost immediately, as she is one of his subjects, and a beautiful one at that. Needless to say, since this is MJD we're talking about here, Fred not only doesn't notice their attention but acts in such a way that should make them back off, big time.

Fred's best friend of many, many years is Jonas Carrey, who also knows she's a mer-person. He's great, very metrosexual, very snarky. Fred's parents put in an appearance at the beginning of the book but aren't really seen again. There's an exceedingly annoying intern, (named Madison, of course, and she just loves dolphins!) an uptight boss-lady, and escapades galore. If this were a movie, it would've been one of those madcap comedies they used to do back in the "good old days".

It's a cute read, won't take long, and is obviously setting up a new series. And while I still enjoyed it, there's a part of me that wonders if MJD will ever do a slightly more serious book. I think she has it in her - I mean, she's not a bad writer. And while I've enjoyed her books, they can't be said to be serious reading. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for fluff. And while I'm wondering about the direction of MJD's career, I'm not suggesting she suddenly go all literary on us. I think she could still be funny but have a bit more substance to her books. In any case, I'm still looking forward to the next Betsy book, "Undead and Uneasy", which should be out this spring.

That's it for now. Hopefully back tomorrow with another review! Keep reading!

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