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Thursday, April 21, 2011
Alex Prentiss: LADY OF THE LAKES
Author: Alex Prentiss
Series: LADY OF THE LAKES (Horror, UF)
Ratings: V4; S5; H1
The heroine is Rachel Matre, the 34-year-old owner of a diner in Madison, Wisconsin. When Rachel was in her teens, she drowned and came back to life, but the experience changed her sex life forever. Since then, only the bodiless spirits of the lake can sexually satisfy her. So...by day Rachel is the seemingly normal waitress, but by night she is the naked lady in the lake getting her jollies underwater. Seriously...I'm always looking for a fresh paranormal idea, but this borders on the ridiculous. Here's a section from Night Tides (pp. 118-119) that describes a typical watery experience:
"She held out her arms and bent forward. The delicious moment her nipples touched the water made her gasp and pause to savor it. Was the water actually closing around them, hardening enough to deliver firm yet gentle pinches? Then she slid smoothly into the warm, dark liquid, moving beneath the surface and into the depths, where her lover's embrace awaited...The water grew more solid and, with no further preliminaries, slowly penetrated her, forming itself to fit inside her so that it addressed every sensitive spot." And on and on.
Rachel also has an on-line personality—her Lady of the Lake blog—on which she posts crime-fighting info that the lake spirits whisper to her. No one know who the Lady of the Lake is, but it seems as if all of Madison reads the blog—every bloggers dream.
Although Prentiss writes well enough, I just couldn't get past the idea of sex with the water—especially the water in an urban lake. Rachel herself even admits that when she leaves the lake she smells to high heaven. After all, she has spent hours rolling around on the muddy, silt-covered bottom of a polluted lake. And to make this even more yukky, she often jogs home and falls asleep still covered with lake goop. Once, she even goes from the lake straight to a coffee house, where the barista "frowned a little and tried not to sniff blatantly." (p. 140) Ewwwww!
In Night Tides, a serial kidnapper of young girls has Madison on high alert, and the lake spirits have asked Rachel to help one of the girls. They claim that the missing girl is a "treasure," but we never find out why. The graphic details of what the kidnapper does to the girls push this into a high violence rating. The story is written in a typical horror mode. We see some scenes through the sociopathic kidnapper's eyes as he goes about planning and following through on his dastardly, and bloody, plans. In the midst of all this, Rachel meets her love interest, Ethan, the owner of a construction company and the brother of a local cop. Ethan develops his own relationship with the lake spirits; apparently they are bisexual.
In Dark Waters, the plot is very convoluted. We have good lake spirits, bad lake spirits, villainous land developers, phony Indian artifacts, a behind-the-scenes casino scheme, Rachel's bratty sister, and Ethan's jealous ex-girlfriend. Mix these all together and you get a strange story that twists and turns toward its weird climax (and believe me, climax is a key word in this series!).
Book 1 has a few illogical moments, and here are two of the worst:
Early on, Rachel wonders why men pay so much attention to her. Perhaps it's because "she also tended to inadvertently dress in ways that showed off her assets, as she had this morning, in a sports-bra top and tight denim shorts." (p. 36) She "inadvertently" wears a sports bra and tight shorts to work in a diner, and then she wonders why men stare at her? C'mon!
Then, later in the book, when Rachel's restaurant is vandalized, the first person she suspects is her ex-husband. The fact that they have been out of touch for years and that he lives in Asia don't seem to matter. She thinks, "But Don hadn't contacted her in years. The last she heard, he was in Hong Kong. What could have brought him back after all this time, seeking revenge only now for some perceived wrong?" (p. 167) This little episode made me groan out loud. Please...no one can be that stupid! I wanted to tap her on the shoulder and say, "What about that big, crazy ex-Marine that you swore out a restraining order against and then threw out of your restaurant yesterday? Isn't he a more likely suspect?"
Needless to say, I do not recommend this series.