REVIEW: Don’t Look Down by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

Dear Ms. Crusie:

(I’m not writing a letter to Mr. Mayer. I don’t know him from adam).

Don't Look DownI have been following your books since the publication of Getting Rid of Bradley. I have pretty much loved all of them except for Stupid Strange Bedpersons. But even you acknowledged that story didn’t quite work out as well as you had hoped. My favorite contemporary list includes Welcome to Temptation. I have re-read your books several times. Even though I was a bit Krispy Kremed out by Bet Me, I still thought it was a good read.

When I read you were doing a collaboration with Bob Mayer, I was thrilled. Not because I like Bob Mayer’s works. But because you are such a good writer that collaboration can mean only good things. The whole – two heads are better than one – idea. I waited anxiously for the release of Don’t Look Down. I read the dueling blogs. I almost peed my pants in excitement when I saw the book for sale early at Waldens.

I spent Saturday and Sunday reading your books. That is the first signal that your book wasn’t working for me. I don’t remember the last time that I had to spend more than one night reading a book of yours. I had to literally force myself to finish the book. It almost became a DNF but I figured that I might as well read it and then sell it at half.com.

The plot is thus: Lucy Armstrong, a director of commercials, gets called in to finish directing a big action adventure. J.T. Wilder is called in as a military advisor. Armstrong’s ex husband is the stunt coordinator involved in shady dealings. Armstrong’s sister and niece are present. There is J.T.’s best friend and partner. Lucy’s assistant. The lead actor and actress. Yes, a cast of thousands. Readers need a cast list and post it notes to keep everyone straight. The movie script is a strange parallel for the book itself. It has no plot and big cast of characters with implausible event following implausible event.

I thought this would be a romance which was just stupid of me. I mean, why would this be a romance, just because every other offering by Crusie has been a romance and it is shelved in the romance section. I was expecting a fun and different type of suspense. I was expecting a good mystery. I was disappointed on all parts and won’t be buying your next collaboration.

I am sorry to see our relationship end like this. Drop me a line when you get back to writing the good stuff – without Mr. Mayer.

Best regards,

Jane

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0 comments on “REVIEW: Don’t Look Down by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

  1. Damn Jane, I didn’t read the whole thing but I can’t believe you didn’t like this. That does not bode well!

    Though she did say she was moving away from romance. That she would have romantic threads, but her work probably wouldn’t be straight romance anymore. Which is kinda sad.

    Meanwhile, welcome to book blogging! 🙂

  2. Yes, but Jay, you liked Pink Carnation and I was sorely disappointed by it. I think it tends to be about reader expectations. I expected a fun contemporary romance with good character development which are hallmarks of a Crusie book. I didn’t find those here.

  3. True reader expectations can really make or break a book.

    Are you still fiddling with the template or did my IE go wonky?

  4. I’m going to take some comfort from the fact that I loved Pink Carnation, too. And well, this does lower my expectations somewhat, so it might help!

  5. After trying to read this one and getting totally bored, you might just want to lower your expectations a tad more. The blog they wrote about writing the book was far more interesting.

    ~Jayne

  6. I did sell it on half.com today. Yeah. I saw on the Crusie list that those who were expecting romance were bound to be disappointed because this is Romance Adventure book. Sounds like a choose your own ending story. I wish!

  7. Thank heavens I did not buy this book. When I found it in the library last monday I was thrilled to bits. Silly me. I should have knwn better. Jennifer does just fine on her own. why she thought she needed to collaborate I can’t understand. Her books make me laugh out loud while I thoroughly enjoy her take on modern dating and life in general. I don’t know anything about Bob Mayer’s work and certainly am not going to look for it after reading” Don’t Look Down.”

  8. Even though the year is barely half done, I am pretty sure that this will go down as my biggest disappointment. I, too, wish that JC would go back to writing by herself. My fear is that if the collaboration is even remotely successful it will continue and the true Crusie voice will be lost.

  9. Oh, yes, yes, yes! It was most assuredly a wall-banger, but I resisted because it irritated me so much I wanted to be able to return it unharmed. I didn’t finish it because a) blood pressure and b) I couldn’t have without doing the actual book actual harm. I found enough “you’ve got to be kidding’s” in the first 60 pages to deep six a library, and amongst them were:

    1. I don’t mind keeping a character cheat sheet for books like, say, The Bible or Finnegan’s Wake, but this? I don’t think so.
    2. The five year old kid? I don’t (didn’t) believe in corporal punishment, but this kid changed my mind. And what the hell are adults doing allowing a kid free run of a movie set with all it’s attendant physical dangers (mechanical and human)?
    3. An Army officer takes a part-time job as a consultant and BTW, gets flown to his part-time gig in a USA helicopter (paid for by the US taxpayer). Right. Can Crusie spell “court-martial”? And the “show the coin” bit really let me know she and Meyer knew the inside scoop about special forces. Reminded me of Suzanne Brockmann’s spelling out acronyms every other sentence. Irritating stuff that.
    4. The lead in a movie is going to design his own costume? Only if he’s working for Ed Wood.
    5. A public bridge, a helicopter landing and no FDA involvement? Don’t think so.
    6. What was with the 72 beddings conversation? Just about the dumbest several pages of pure drivel I’ve ever read (and there’s some competition for this particular award)
    7. The hero has a massive hang over and is lusting after another drink? I do believe he needs in-house treatment.
    8. A 20-year old operative for the CIA? I suspect I know Crusie’s politics, but this is purely ridiculous. Not going to happen.
    8. A director dies and a substitute is sent for and starts directing without reading the script? That Ed Wood thing again.

    BTW, Jane, I also loved ALL Crusie’s previous books except that one with “lies” in the title (you know…the back of the Cadillac and the washing dishes with the black underpants one?). Anyway, I’ve concluded that Crusie and Meyer are not Laura London and that book by committee is not such a hot idea.

  10. I think you should have written the review. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was. The romance developed in all of four days and that was after JT just got done fucking (and I use that word intentionally because I don’t see JT ever making love, not even with Lucy) the actress.

    For all Bob Mayer’s previous military experience, none of it showed in this book. It was a sloppy story that had no center, certainly not JT and Lucy. And there was no charm to the story. I always felt Crusie was able to imbue a sense of charm to her characters. Something that made me want to be their friends, to be part of their circle. In this story, I was hoping the helicopter would crash and burn all the characters to ashes.

    I think the only Crusie book I did not like (because I didn’t mind Tell Me Lies) was Strange Bedpersons.

  11. Disappointment is an understatement here. At the first of the year, I made notations on my calendar about who was publishing what when. I had maybe 5 or 6 entries of must buy’s for the entire bloody year. This was one of them. Now I’ve only Mary Balogh to look forward to for ALL of the rest of 2006. Sigh.

    But there was some good news coming out of this book. She thanked Judith Ivory for her help in writing the five-year old brat’s binoculars thingie, so I’m extremely hopeful this indicates that JI is well and writing again (oh, please, please, please romance angels–make it so).

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