Format: Mass Market Paperback, 336pp
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: May 2007
There is a reason people read reviews. One of the reasons is that hopefully you will not spend your hard earned cash on a book that will only disappoint you. Of course when you’re an impulse shopper, like me, and you see a cover that catches your eye sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.
I really, really wanted to like Key to Conflict. It’s got a great plot idea and a few characters that really grab your attention. Unfortunately the end result is something short of what you might expect. It’s clumsy and awkward in spots, with too much detail and development in which the author shows you a lot of things without letting it just unfold onto the page. There just was not enough conversation to keep the book going; Indeed, Gryphon would tell you that certain characters had talked, and this just got to be a little boring. I don’t want to be told what they said, I just want to read it, damnit.
Not to mention the fact that this is labeled fantasy… except that for just fantasy it sure does have a lot of sex going on. Or if not sex, then enough time spent inside Gillian’s head thinking about the hunky beautiful drop-dead-sexy males she finds herself surrounded by. They all want her too, she’s that perfect. I personally would have stuck this in the romance section, except that it wouldn’t really fit there either.
Dr. Gillian Key is a Marine Paramortal Psychologist. So she kicks your ass and then she’s going to ask you how you feel about it. It’s an unusual combination, and it almost works. She is assigned to a master vampire by the name of Alesksei and a charming ghost and while she is there for their mental health she is also supposed to unearth some clues about Dracula. Yes, the Dracula, who is the ultimate in bad guys and just so happens to be stirring up trouble again.
From there we learn that basically Dracula is trying to take over the world again and our brave and oh-so-sweet doctor has landed on the wrong side. By helping Alesksei, one of Dracula’s sworn enemies, Gillian has been made a target. But since part of her mission is to uncover information she’s in the perfect, if a bit tight, spot.
Soon Gillian has formed a relationship with Tanis, Alesksei’s even cuter brother and the dead but very sexy turquoise-eyed ghost she’s treating for shock over his untimely death hundreds of years ago. And Alesksei has a thing for her too, but there is that whole doctor-patient line that Gillian doesn’t want to cross… well… until later, at least.
The Dracula stuff never goes anywhere and nothing is resolved. There are hints of a second book with the open ending and I can only pray that if a sequel does show up it is less tell and more show. In the end I just started skipping pages, which I have to admit is not a good idea since there is so much information crammed onto each page to begin with.
But I couldn’t bring myself to go back and read it. So I just gave up, and I hate to admit it but — this particular Key to Conflict just might have to remain lost in the couch cushions.