Review: The Downfall of a Good Girl by Kimberly Lang

Posted: October 8, 2014 in Reviews
Tags: , , ,

Rocktober3

This review was originally posted at West of Mars. It is being posted here, at its new permanent home.

When I saw the review at Dear Author, I had to grab it from one of the book trading sites. Paperback Swap came to my rescue, and Kimberly Lang’s The Downfall of a Good Girl was destined to be a sneaky weekend read, the sort of Rock Fiction escapism that I was sorely in need of.

The story is about two New Orleans natives, kids who grew up with each other but who are now competing in a charity competition to raise the most cash. It reminds me of the sort of thing that Donald Trump would have his Apprentice wanna-bes do. And I like it, if only because Vivienne and Connor are doing more than merely working their networks for cash donations. They get down and dirty in the Ninth Ward, helping clean up debris that still remains, years after Katrina.

The story itself is fine. It’s the fact that Connor is supposed to be this piano crooner with a bad boy image that I don’t buy. You’d think a book with this sort of hero would be squarely in the Rock Fiction category.

It is, but only by default. I had way too many problems with Connor. First off, he seems totally generic. Part of what makes Rock Fiction so unique is that the men and women who work in the music business have an oomph to them, a special charisma that wouldn’t allow them to work in any other industry. Connor, we’re told, has a bad boy image, but we don’t really see it. In fact, he comes off as a considerate man. That’s far from being a bad boy. And it’s a little bit bland, too.

Other things bother me… like his hand problem. No, not that he has a problem with his hands—it could very well be something simple like carpal tunnel. The issue is that he never tells his smarmy manager about it. That’s not much of a relationship—or business sense—if he can’t tell her the truth about things that affect both their bottom lines.

My final quibble is about the now de rigeur scene at the piano. Does every single romance have a scene where the musical hero writes his woman a song at the piano, or as she gazes adoringly at him over his guitar? This one is particularly good, in that author Lang picks out some really spectacular details. But in the end… it’s a scene we’ve seen a million times.

So… overall, The Downfall of a Good Girl was a perfect weekend romance. Just fast enough to be a break from the rest of my regular grind, but nothing to write home about. In fact, given how disappointing it was as a work of Rock Fiction, it’s almost a better-kept secret.

One last note: I’d happily read more of Kimberly Lang’s books. The woman can write, and her eye for detail rocks. We used to correspond when she actively blogged at The Writer’s Playground and I ran Win a Book. She’s good people, and she’s a writer worth reading.

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