(SB Sarah: I tweeted Sassy Outwater while I was reading this book because I had questions about the portrayal of the blind character, the heroine, Ashley. She started reading the book (and is a MUCH faster reader than I am) and wrote her own review. My review will be posted later today).
Sarah tweeted this book at me and then upped the ante with a speed read challenge: blind chick with screen reader Vs. a smartbitch with eyeballs. I so got that! Three hour read, and a lasting impression later, here’s my review.
A good book is like a good song. Scenes or lines stick in your head and won’t get the hell out of there. Cliché but true. This was one of those for me. Dangerously Close by Dee J. Adams is the third book in the Adrenaline Highs series from Carina Press. I wouldn’t call this book an adrenaline high, but I would call it accurate, treacherous, and an overall wonderful read. Adams took two character profiles that I’ve hardly ever seen portrayed well and she kicked ass and took names with them.
Washed up rockstar Seger Hughes in self-imposed hermitage in his Malibu mansion meets newly blinded nextdoor neighbor and recovering agoraphobic law-school student Ashley Bristol. Lucky for him she can’t see his face and identify him. He’s concocted a fake identity for himself. She’s busy learning how to be blind while undergoing treatments to reverse the blindness. That puts the two of them at home a lot. With lots of time for love to grow. Pay no attention to the smelly stalker hovering around the edges who knows who the guy in the mansion really is and threatens to expose him to the poor blind girl. And the stalker can’t stand the fact that the blind girl is getting hot and heavy with her rockstar.
Time-lines and expectations require some superhuman suspension for this book to work, but I like that. Adams obviously did her research, learned the rules and timelines, then said “To hell with them. My character can be the one in a million because that’s just who she is.” It made me respect the author and the heroine all the more.
When Sarah told me about this book, her first question to me was “Could a blind woman really use knives to cut tomatoes three weeks after going blind?” My realistic answer is probably not, if you’re the standard issue newly blinded individual. But that’s the amazing thing about any disability, any hardship. Screw standard-issue, because there is no such thing. If you want to be a blind chick cooking Thanksgiving dinner and BLT’s three weeks after an almost total loss of vision, get on with your bad self and invite me for dinner! Textbooks and professionals might say it can’t be done, but I say it so could be done if you had the right blind chick, the right attitude and the right teacher. It’s all in the attitude and the heroine demonstrates why.
I’m all about reading heroines that defy expectation and Ashley Bristol does it well. Her sense of humor never quits, and it’s true-to-life. I use lame blind jokes and euphemisms for sight all the time. What else are you supposed to do with a daunting, scary, sometimes ugly, sometimes incredibly beautiful disability? Our heroine faces her fear, sorrow and uncertainty, sometimes she wins, sometimes it gets the better of her. But Ashley’s humor and her belief in herself keep this book awesome.
Our heroine is a smart cookie; there are a few plot points that her intellect seems to disappear for, which is my main issue with this book. If a woman I’d met twice suddenly shows up claiming that my highly trained and qualified assistant couldn’t return to work and had sent me this stranger in her stead who had no experience helping the blind… yeah, I’d have red alert sirens going off and background checks going on. But conveniently for the plot, Ashley trusts. A little too much to be completely plausible, but it gets the point of vulnerability across, and even made me blink a time or two when I thought about how easily someone could sabotage me. I don’t go through my life suspecting someone would replace pills in a bottle or move things on me, but it could happen. Creepy. Then there are a few plot gaps such as how the villain gets back in to the estate after security codes are changed… little things, but if you’re a die hard suspense and thriller reader, you’ll notice the problems. The villain in this book was the big turn off for me. But there was more than enough good stuff to ignore the sticky points.
The flirtation between the main characters is addictive. Their attraction is slow, steady and that’s one timeline that doesn’t have to be suspended. I love the growth of the relationship from awkward friendship to frends with complicated-maybe-benefits to HEA. Even the sex scenes have Ashley’s trademark humor. Cozy couch scene after Thanksgiving dinner, Cliffside kissing, it takes a while, but every scene builds the heat.
When I pick up books about blind characters, I usually settle in for a smirk fest and count the errors. Lots of authors try it, but very few come close to the truth. Dee Adams did it right on so many levels. This one gets the official blind chick seal of approval. I don’t exactly know what that seal is… Maybe I should have Kodak the Guide Dog trademark his pawprint or something. Go give it your seal of approval too.