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Tuesday, 06 September 2011 18:43

Book Thoughts - Rough Play

Written by Jennifer Porter
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rough-play.s_med“Rough Play” by Christina Crooks (erotic, Kensington, September 2011, $14.00, 320pp): I don’t normally review books that I purchase, mostly because I have so many review copies or ARCs to review. But I had several people ask me lately if there are books to which I have negative reactions. Granted, I usually choose to read review copies of books that I think I will like. I don’t think it is odd that I prefer to read books that I enjoy. I’m too busy to waste time on books that suck. But this weekend, I read the book “Rough Play” by Christina Crooks, and I had a very negative reaction. So, I thought I would share my thoughts on this one.


Charlotte is a professional dating coach struggling to make ends meet after her divorce from her abusively dominant husband Cory. When her client Gail goes missing after a date arranged by Charlotte, Charlotte ventures to a fetish club named Subspace to search for Gail. Charlotte immediately runs into Master Martin, a man to whom she is incredibly attracted, but also happens to be the man she set up with Gail.



Now, I actually liked parts of Charlotte and Martin’s relationship. Charlotte had what could have been an interesting backstory with her abusive ex-husband, especially if it had been explored in relation to her need for and enjoyment of pain and submission. But this wasn’t really explored in any meaningful way. Martin had the potential to be a strong dominant with a penchant for consensual non-consent scenes. But, this potential was definitely not realized.


My biggest problem with this story though centers around the lack of concern on Martin’s part for some seriously sick stuff happening in his club. Charlotte goes to Subspace in order to check on her possibly missing client. When she arrives at the club, there is a man trying to find his daughter whom he believes has been abducted. Charlotte tours the club and finds nothing. She attempts to interrogate Martin, who is a master and the owner of the club, but he doesn’t take Charlotte’s concerns seriously. Even worse, women have been disappearing for some time, and he has no clue. He ignores warnings about Master Kartane, a club regular, from his closest club associate. He doesn’t seem to get it until Charlotte is in danger. I found it very difficult to forgive Martin for his idiocy and his lack of control in his own club.


On Charlotte’s first visit to Subspace, Martin refuses to answer her questions about Gail, citing concerns about patron privacy. After Charlotte leaves Martin shackled, she returns to searching the club and ends up getting bashed on the head (well, she ends up unconscious and I’m not sure of the particulars). She wakes up strapped to an exam table in a medical fetish room at which point Martin engages in a play scene with her. Really? She lost consciousness – and her client was missing. This did not seem like an appropriate time for play.


“Rough Play” had a great deal of promise, and there are other elements of the story that I liked. But a capable dominant does not deserve any respect when he behaves like Martin – and that made the story highly problematic for me. I didn’t believe in Martin as a worthy romance hero, and heroes make or break romances for me.


Buy this book from Amazon now!
Author Link: http://www.christinacrooks.net/

Like Christina Crooks on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/christinacrooks.author?v=wall

Follow Christina Crooks on Twitter: http://twitter.com/clcrooks

Last modified on Sunday, 25 September 2011 19:32
Jennifer Porter

Jennifer Porter

Romance Novel News

Twitter: @JenniferRNN

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