Book Review

The Dump: Drive Me Crazy by Nancy Warren


Title: Drive Me Crazy
Author: Nancy Warren
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

This is the poor book I picked up to read after finishing Slaughterhouse-Five—which, by the way, is an incredible book, and why in the hell I waited so long to pick it up, I have no friggin’ clue. Anyway, I wanted a complete change of pace and subject matter, so I grabbed a library book. I have over 10 books checked out from the library, and I need to thin the herd. Drive Me Crazy just happened to be on top of the stack.

There’s nothing terribly wrong with this book, but there’s nothing terribly right about it either, if you know what I mean.

The hero? He never really leers, but based on his internal thoughts and his behavior, I pictured him with a leering expression anyway. He’s also kind of an asshole—not in a sexy way, but in an oversexed-turd-who-will-grope-you-in-a-bar-when-you’re-tipsy-and-chuckle-condescendingly-when-you-try-to-remove-his-hand-from-your-left-tit kind of way. Or that’s the impression I got, anyway.

The heroine isn’t much better. I like the fact that she’s a librarian who is neither mousy nor shy nor wimpy nor any of the other appalling stereotypes associated with librarians, but the author kept slapping me in the face with how she’s such an ice queen, so much so that I ended up disliking her. Because if there’s one thing I hate more than wimpy doormats in a romance, it’s an ice queen who has no discernible reason to be one. Well, there may have been a discernible reason if I’d read more of the book, but I found myself not particularly caring.

The part that made me stop reading the book and start flipping to the juicy bits is when the heroine discovers a dead body in the library. She calls the police station and gets the dispatcher, who tells her the sergeant is across (the very small) town getting doughnuts. Instead of telling the dispatcher that there’s a dead body in her library and GET SERGEANT PERKINS’ ASS RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW AND SCREW THOSE DOUGHNUTS, she tells the dispatcher to ask the policeman to get her a cinammon sprinkle doughnut and oh, by the way, drop by the library when he can, she has something that needs his attention. Nary a word about the murder. Why?

Because the dispatcher is a gossip and the heroine doesn’t want news of the murder leaking out.

Now, does this make ANY kind of sense? Like, at all? What the fuck? Lady, it’s a MURDER. This makes it newsworthy, so fuck the news spreading throughout the town, it’s going to do so anyway. It also makes it an URGENT FUCKING MATTER. Screw small-town gossip, having the sergeant arrive faster is a good thing, right? Or am I using too much Earth logic, here?

So: Ice-queen heroine: -2 points.

Who dresses like a tart and isn’t ashamed about it: +5 points

But who acts like a raging ‘tard: -50 points

I am a judgmental tool. I know this. But see, because the heroine didn’t tell the dispatcher about the dead body, there was a lag of several minutes in which the hero and heroine are left alone in the library.

I am not a happy camper when devices this obvious are used to throw the hero and heroine together.

Oh, the hero is also an asshole and moves the body around, but actually, that’s believable because, well, he’s an asshole, and it’s something assholes do: fuck around with crime scenes before the cops arrive even though you know better. I got the impression that the hero had very specific reasons for messing with the dead body, but again, did not care.

However, the secondary romance is surprisingly engaging. The heroine has a loser cousin who’s a former drug addict and the town slut, and at first I had her fingered as the villain because Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Druggie Slut To Live in Romancelandia, but no, she gets her own love story with the cop. Awwww. Those parts I did more than skim through. The cop’s a really nice guy, the loser cousin chick has issues (which unfortunately are resolved in a rather facile way, but that’s a problem most romances face), and overall, if the book had focused on the two of them and their relationship, I probably would’ve read the whole thing, bonus points if she’d still been an addict when the book started.

Unfortunately, we’re stuck with Frosty and Jerkface for much of the book. The two of them do engage in some hot monkey fizznuckin’, which is fun to read about, but there wasn’t nearly enough of THAT either to hold my attention for long.

Overall, the bits I read were a C, verging into C- in spots. By no means was it horrible or unreadable, and if I’d been stranded somewhere with only this book, I would’ve read it and felt glad I hadn’t been stuck with, say, a Connie Mason or Cassie Edwards. But still: failed to engage me.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Wendy says:

    I was actually more annoyed the painfully obvious suspense thread than anything else.  I mean come on – Nancy Drew wouldn’t have broken a sweat.

    And like you, the secondary romance held my attention a lot more than the primary one.  In fact, I seem to recall not even reading word-for-word all the juicy naughty bits when it involved the primary characters……

  2. 2
    Book Mom says:

    I found the female lead in this book to be insipid. The secondary romance was more interesting than the main romance. And the ending where the cousins finally clear the air concerning their relationship was just a last minute jumble to close the book. I this book straight to the used bookstore instead of placing it on my bookshelf.

  3. 3
    Candy says:

    I didn’t even bother getting into the suspsense plot. I skimmed so fast in those portions that I barely hit one sentence per page. I basically searched out the fizznuckin’ and the bits involving Tom and Gillian, then called it a night.

  4. 4

    I didn’t read the book, but I like the word “fizznuckin’”.

  5. 5
    Jay says:

    I agree. I concur. Word. And all other permutations.

    Luckily the crappiness of this book didnt stop me from picking up Turn Left At Sanity in which Ms. Warren not only redeemed herself in my eyes but also scored as a keeper. I think it was the cockrings as napkin holders that made me love it so.

  6. 6
    Shannon says:

    I’m a Nancy Warren fangirl, but this wasn’t my favorite of her books.  Like Jay, I really enjoyed Turn Left At Sanity.

    And like others, I really wished more word count had been granted to the secondary romance in Drive Me Crazy.  But it was entertaining and funny and light. 

    (When I say something nice here I always picture the Jerry Springer audience changing “Oprah! Oprah!”)

  7. 7
    CindyS says:

    Good, I’m not the only one who gets sick of H/H who act like dead bodies are no big deal.

    Me, I’d be hyperventalating and screaming about possible deadly influenza strains to go anywhere near a dead body.

    So, I think any author that wants to write about a dead body should go to the morgue and stand by one.  Maybe they should go on the first calls with the cops because I doubt they would be calm and asking for donuts and worrying about gossip. At least, not with their first dead body.


  8. 8
    Alyssa says:

    I had a similar reaction, though I thought the hero was much more leering than you did. Ha ha!

    I like Nancy Warren, but this book made me reluctant to pick up Turn Left at Sanity. I really have to read that before it comes out in mass market so I can feel like I got my money’s worth.

  9. 9
    Candy says:

    Cock ring as a napkin holder? OK, goddammit, I’m putting this book on hold at the library.

    And Darlene: I’m pretty fond of “fizznuck,” too. I stole it from some blog I was reading. I think it was probably one of Bam’s blogs, though I can’t swear to it because my memory nowadays is pretty pathetic.

  10. 10
    Amanda says:

    O.M.G.- Cockrings as napkin holders?! Are you serious? I have to go find this book today. Just for that. Luckily for me, Candy & I are on opposite sides of the country so there’ll surely be copies enough for all. Right?

  11. 11
    Eddie Adair says:

    If I haven’t made it obvious what I do by now, which I very well might not have, just say my name really fast and run-together. Got it? Good.

    Now, I have encountered some authors who, it seems, are allergic to heroines who aren’t somehow hung up. Ice queen after ice queen after embittered, done-me-wrong heroine pops up in their stories, totally cold and shut off to the hero. Then somehow he breaks through, usually because he’s just so studly that she can’t resist him, but after a long night of lovin’, she decides she never wants to see him again. Naturally, the ice eventually breaks, but only plotwise—this type of heroine is usually prickly and overly sarcastic until the end.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with a heroine with an acid tongue. Heck, I like non-doormat heroines as much as anyone, and if she doesn’t want to take any guff, more power to her. If some past trauma has caused the heroine to build a wall, that, too, is okay…to a certain point. It’s when it feels like the audience is going to take it personally or the hero is getting jerked around that it starts to get out of hand. A heroine cn be reasonable and warm-blooded and still be tough, I swear!

    Murder scene mixed with cinnamon sprinkle donut, hmm? Eww. That’s pretty cold. Oh, well, at least it didn’t cross the line to truly grotesque by Frosty asking for a ladyfinger.

  12. 12
    Kate R says:

    We had a hip young teacher who had us reading Vonnegut in high school and I remember being annoyed in HIGH SCHOOL by Slaughterhouse Five because the guy (forget his name) basically summed up his daughter as having ugly legs and his wife as fat and meaning well. The only worthwhile female was a sex goddess, duh. I wasn’t even looking for sexism back then…

    We also had to read Welcome to the Monkeyhouse and there was one story in there that was so clearly a sex-fantasy event. (A schlumpy middle aged guy has to capture gorgeous young women and awaken their libido. Poor dude.)

    Teacher thought I was being oversensitive when I brought up SH5—and I sure wasn’t brave enough to talk about the other book (sex? yikes).

  13. 13
    Eddie Adair says:

    Yeah, the earlier the date, the more chauvinistic Vonnegut’s stuff is. It’s a shame, too, because he’s so dead-on and far ahead about so much else. Still, even old Kurt has progressed—ever so slightly—with the times. By which I mean that his language gets a little less bemused about women. Even by Galapagos, in the backlash-against-women’s-movement-‘80s, he at least had the female characters make intelligent, though not always scrupulous, decisions. (And they were the only ones who didn’t get killed by Chapter Five.) But in that book he was kind of trashing everyone’s judgment, so at least it shows that he listens to new voices that arrive.

    Of course, I just started reading him very recently, so I got to see all of his stuff back to back.

  14. 14
    Candy says:

    OK, see, I wasn’t even remotely bothered by the caricatures of women who are defined mostly by their body parts, because seriously? Almost every character, and especially the main character, Billy Pilgrim, is defined by their body parts, especially parts that might be defective, like the optometrists and how all of them wear glasses, or that little guy who was rabid, scarred by boils and threatened to have everybody who’d pissed him off whacked after the war. The overriding impression I got of him was a rabid chicken, which may or may not be more flattering than being summed up as a pair of cankles. Vonnegut seemed to take a pretty jaundiced view of people in general, and the near non-existence of women in the book I took to be a consequence of this story being mostly about war and about Billy Pilgrim’s odd, detached life. Montana Wildhack’s presence didn’t strike me as sexist so much as a poke at how clueless the Tralfamadorians are: they want a good mate for Billy so they pick someone who’s obviously experienced in the sex act, and who’s more experienced with sexual activity than a porn star, right?

  15. 15
    Eddie Adair says:

    Good point. I think that’s what I was starting to notice as I thought about Galapagos—the view of everyone is equally grim. It’s the same in Cat’s Cradle…probably in almost anything he writes.

  16. 16
    Kate R says:

    ok then I guess I have to go get that damned book and read it again.


  17. 17
    Kate D. says:

    In a stunning display of complete randomness, have you read Alice Hoffman’s The Ice Queen?  I was checking out the archives (Great site by the way) and found this entry.  It made me think of that book, which if memory serves was really good in a, “Carpe Diem,” not necessarily HEA kinda way.  Anyway, I was just curious if you had read it and if so what you thought of it.

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