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Review: Boyfriend from Hell by Jaime Quaid

20 Sep

3.5 out of 5 scoopers

Boyfriend from Hell by Jaime Quaid
Pocket Books (Sept. 25, 2012)
Mass market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9781451656350

Favorite Lines: “I didn’t like being chastised for defending someone against a rapist. If violence wasn’t the answer, what should I have done, polished his nails.” (p. 198, e-galley)

They say justice is blind. But Justine isn’t.

Justine (Tina) Clancy is just an ordinary law student with a faulty arrest record, a part-time job in Baltimore’s radioactive Zone, and a family secret so bizarre even she doesn’t believe it. That is, until in a fit of fury she damns her boyfriend to hell—and it’s exactly where he ends up.

Much to her surprise, Tina is apparently one of Saturn’s daughters, with the power to wield vigilante justice. But poor Max didn’t deserve to go up in flames, even if he did almost run her over with her own car. Tina’s convinced someone cut the brakes—and now a relentless nemesis is stalking her through the Zone’s back alleys, where buildings glow, statues move, and chemical waste exposure comes with interesting consequences. Tina’s usually a loner, but now she needs a posse like no other: a shape-shifting kitten, an invisible thief, a biker gang, a snake-charming private detective, a well-meaning cop, and her sleazy, sexy boss. But in between freeing Max from hell, saving her own neck, and solving a mystery that threatens the Zone and her newfound friends, how is she ever going to study for finals?

A new series that takes on the mythology Saturn, Boyfriend from Hell introduces us to Jaime Quaid‘s Saturn’s Daughter series. It takes a while to find out what Saturn’s daughter really means, but by the end of the book I had a pretty clear picture of the world and many of its different aspects. There is still much that will need to be fleshed out in following books, but enough is given to make me close the book satisfied.

Setting: Most of the book is set in a radioactive industrial neighborhood filled with “freaks”. The Boston area is called the Zone. The people there live under the radar as much as possible until Justine, aka Tina, begins to change bringing unwanted attention to the area.

Heroine: Tina has had a rough past. She isn’t beautiful, but she is intelligent and is trying to become a layer. This is hard because she has a blemish on her record which could prevent her from ever practicing law. A run in with a bad cop has left her with a noticeable limp and a desire to remain far away from police. Her wishes never come true until she makes a remark about a boyfriend in a fit of anger.

Action: Boyfriend from Hell is packed with action. Right away a hit and run occurs, the heroine is almost killed by her boyfriend and a bank is hit by a car. From there the action just keeps picking up. Seemingly random acts happen; unfortunately the heroine is almost always in the thick of it.

Secondary characters: Tina’s mysterious employer Andre tops my list of get to know characters. I want more of him. We’re teased with small scenes including him that only whet my appetite for more information. The other inhabitants of the Zone range from monkey-like to an invisible guy. They hang out where Tina works and remind me of a paranormal Cheers which is kind of funny seeing as how Cheers is set in Boston too. Finally, I’ve got to mention Tina’s damned boyfriend Max who is a mass of contradictions. I’ll be interested to see how future books portray him.

In the end: There were moments during Boyfriend from Hell that I was really invested in the story. There were also slow moments when I wanted to punch Tina for being a hot head. She is a character who reacts. I guess it’s a gut reaction with her but for me it wasn’t always a rational decision. Despite my ambivalent feelings toward the heroine I enjoyed Quaid’s first book in the Saturn’s Daughter series.