Tour’s Books Blog

September 4, 2009

Book Review: Shutter by Trista Ann Michaels

  • Title: Shutter
  • Author: Trista Ann Michaels
  • Type: Contemporary Romance
  • Genre: Erotic suspense
  • Sub-genre: ménage/woman in jeopardy
  • My Grade: C (3.2*)
  • Length: about 68,000 words; near Novel length
  • Rating: xx
  • Where Available: ebook at Loose-Id

Trista Ann Michaels runs hot and cold for me.  For each book I like, there’s one I don’t.  In  Shutter we have a heroine, Bethany Marx, who survives rape and attempted murder – stabbed 3 times, by her step-father and lived to testify against him, sending him to prison.  Her mother disowns her, blaming her for what happened.  She’s rescued from a strip club by a Hugh Hefner type, Jacob, that that’s takes in ‘strays’ and helps them back onto their own two feet.  She becomes a centerfold, a popular model and eventually goes to college to become a photographer for the magazine.  Unbelievable, but there you are.  Not a single mention of scars from the near fatal stab wounds.  Amazing emotional recovery – which is only slightly easier to believe than the lack of scars.  Now Beth is faced with wanting 2 men, Derrick, Jacob’s cop son, and Nathan, Derrick’s best friend and usual partner in their threesomes.   Despite Derrick’s difficult relationship with Jacob, he’s always around.  Given the hours a police detective works, that’s surprising.  They’ve been dancing around each other for nearly 2 years, and Beth is ready for some action.

Let’s see, we have sex by the pool after a photo shoot, attempted murder by paroled step-father, sex in bed, sex in a restaurant, sex in a dressing room at a clothing store, pussies weep and clench, cocks drip and shoot, while dear old step-dad stalks, send awful poems, and then he takes a shot at Nathan, wounding him.  One thing that finally rings true is Nathan’s struggle to accept, for the first time in many years, the fact he doesn’t want to share Beth.  But Derrick won’t back off and he wants her as much as Nathan and he’s just as possessive and jealous.   Beth obviously is equally interested in them, but the two friends have never been at odds over a woman before – or as tied in knots with need and love.  This is not typically how ménage books play out.  In fact, it’s Beth who finally gets the three in a room with a bed and that’s well into the book.  After many pages of that, we single paragraph about dear old stepdad buying the security plans to the estate and their being worth every penny.  Where did the money come from?  How did a guy just out of jail know who to buy the plans from?  What’s his story beyond being a sick pervert?  Let’s not dwell on the story, and get back to the sex – including a butt plug courtesy of another of the girls in residence,  Then we do a ménage in a pool grotto during a party.

There is more story than in many menage books, but without history and more self examination, only the superficial emotions are addressed.  Mostly I had trouble believing Beth.  Even a tough woman would not be so sanguine about the risk her stepfather represented or so unprepared.  They already know the guy has a gun, so he needn’t even get too close if he’s frustrated enough.  Counting on a crazy person staying within certain behavior patterns is insanely risky.  And frankly the story had so many holes it was a sieve, but I’m a die hard mystery/suspense reader, so I have little tolerance for a badly crafted plot.

For some reason,the book seemed flat, sort of lifeless.  Yes, Ms Michaels explored the jealousy of two men who wanted the same woman for themselves alone, which was interesting and rare in ménage romance, but that was about all we get to know of Nathan and Derrick.  Their entire existence is defined by this one thing.  Even Derrick’s relationship with his father is resolved with an “I’m sorry.”  The one thing that did stand out was Nathan and Beth seemed to enjoy sex in locations that were semi-public and had the risk of getting caught.  Other than the fact Nathan and Derrick had been friends and shared everything since college, I couldn’t even tell you what the hell Derrick did at his job, who is boss was, what division he worked in, where he was a patrolman – nothing.  No idea how Nathan went into security or why, what cars he liked, what food or wine – again a complete cipher.  You never even know her mother’s name.  Beth displays no adsorption or deep passion for her photography.  Even the big confrontation with the stepfather was blah and unexciting.  No catharsis at all.  I couldn’t find any emotional depth, nothing that tugged at anything inside me, just a superficial story where players went through the motions.  The best I can say is, “It was OK .”  Another book destined to languish in the Jungle of ‘Meh”.


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