Review: Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley

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If you’ve read Kristen Ashley’s books before, then this one is either one you’d really love (since it follows her Rock Chick formula) or one you’d hate (because it follows her Rock Chick formula, you can predict what’s going to happen next). I’m of the latter.

(1) Heroine book editor Gwendolyn “Gwen” Kidd is so irresistible, she’s attractive to at least 3 men who fell into insta-lust for her: hero Cade “Hawk” Delgado, MC prez Kane “Tack” Allen, and Denver PD Detective Mitch Lawson. I am very much aware that this is fiction – but this happens a lot in Ms. Ashley’s books. Her heroines are seemingly more beautiful and sexier than Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, and Sofia Loren combined. It’s annoying. And too predictable. Hence, boring. Can we please have another less predictable female character? We’re not all as one-note as this, really. In fact, it’s been noted in several pieces of literature and countless works of poetry how UNpredictable and wonderfully complex women are.

(2) Gwen is also an irritating character, in my honest opinion. She’s 33, but acts like she’s still 17. Cookie dough and cosmopolitans are her crack. These get mentioned 10 million times in the book. She’s been hurt, yes, by her cheating ex-husband and by her completely opposite-of-her-perfect-self sister, Ginger. In Ms. Ashley’s books, women are portrayed as one of just 2 types: angelic or demonic. Ginger is of the devil, in case you need to know. Yet, Gwennie forgives her. Gwen also has no self-preservation skills. She takes Hawk to her home the very first time they interacted with each other, without knowing his name or anything about him. She continues to allow him to have sex with her frequently for 1.5 years and romantically calls him her Great Mystery Man. Her temper tantrums induce greater migraines in me as her reader. Her wishy-washiness re. Hawk is sad, truly sad. She’s as shallow as a puddle of spit on the side of the road in a 3rd world country. She automatically gives Hawk her soft eyes after he got her Jimmy Choo shoes. In a word: she’s easy.

(3) Hawk is equally as bad of a character. At the end of the book, I still really don’t understand what he does. At one point, his 2nd in command reveals what Hawk’s team of privatized/contractual commandoes specialize in: kidnap and ransom. Great. That’s it? That’s all the “shit” (as Hawk always says he does) he’s up to? He also kept Gwen on a string for 1.5 years. He has unprotected sex with her after he rifled through her purse and found her birth control pills. Never mind that he still had a “Thursday” girl during the time that he was conducting his nightly visits to Gwen. He invades her privacy, stakes his ape-like claim on her, hides himself from her but demands her everything, and breaks promises from which he expects Gwen to easily forgive him for once he explains what his secret is. Boo-effin-hoo.

Their one-week romance is filled with firebombs, drive-by shootings, kidnappings, Tazering, cookie dough eating, cosmo consuming, having lots of impossible sex, meeting the family, breaking down constantly (a.k.a. sobbing loudly), etc. etc. etc. It’s tiring and predictable – not even the epilogue from Hawk’s POV saved this for me.

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