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Julie Doe

Retreat - Mari Carr Warning: this review contains comments that could be construed as spoliers.

I haven't summarized the entire plot here, because it would just depress me. The synopsis in the product description is good enough for a basic idea of who is who. That said...

Oh. My. God. This book was going along decently – despite Ms. Carr’s typical reliance on amatuer writing techniques such as using a lot of dialogue tags besides “said”, telling intead of showing, and stilted dialogue – until about halfway through when Carly gets it into her head that she absolutely must go undercover at the “Retreat”. From there the plot dissolves into a series of appalling and/or laughable events. To wit:

1. Carly insists on going undercover and risking Jon and Night having to “rape” her to prove their loyalty to Cassandra; she rationalizes it by thinking that if they do it right, it’ll be pleasurable. Huh? It’ll be pleasurable?

2. Night and Jon attempt to dissuade her by showing her how bad BDSM-style (emphasis on SM) sex can be. This is their girlfriend, remember, and they think that using sex to hurt her is a reasonable way to make the point that what Carly wants to do is dangerous. They think that this is the only way to prevent Carly from putting herself in danger. I guess having the UIA (the super-secret law enforcement agency that Night works for) simply put her in protective custody until the investigation was over would have made for a pretty boring story.

3. They then think about how brave she is to do this. Brave? Try ridiculously fool-hardy.

4. Cassandra explains all her plans to the Jon and Night on their first visit. And she is supposed to be this great criminal mastermind?

5. After Cassandra figures out that Jon and Night are spying for the UIA, Carly offers to give up herself if Cassandra will let them go free. Because, of course, Cassandra’s word is to be trusted. Not. And now Carly has revealed both her feelings for them and their feelings for her. Stupid, stupid, stupid. The girl doesn’t have a shred of common sense.

6. Night and Jon, despite their supposed super training with the UIA, think they can’t take on one rather large and strong opponent. Must have been some pretty mediocre training… Night can, however, pull chains set into concrete out of said concrete with his bare hands.

7. Cassandra sneaks up on Night, Jon, and Carly while they are outside on the grounds, having paused in their escape from the Retreat, and grabs Carly. And they never heard her coming. Not very good agents, were they?

8. Cassandra – BDSM dominatrix, cult leader, psychotic chick – also just happens to be an expert knife thrower when the situation warrants it. I actually laughed out loud at this point.

There is more silliness, as well. Overall, I can’t recommend this book unless you have a few hours and want a really good laugh.