Thursday, April 23, 2009

Montana Creeds: Logan, Dylan, Tyler

Linda Lael Miller
HQN Books (Harlequin) - 2009

Is it just me or is the hat too big on the smiling cover model. A ten-gallon hat on an eight-gallon head. I can visualize some bunched-up newspaper pages keeping the hat out of his eyes. Remove the newspaper and you have a cover for a Cowboy Comedy Romance, but apparently that wasn’t what series’ author, Linda Lael Miller, had in mind this time—or ever, for that matter.

Logan, Tyler, and Dylan are offspring from Miller’s five-book jaunt featuring the McKettricks. Miller should have better luck keeping her characters out of the bedroom, but then that would handicap the romance part of all this, wouldn’t it? Besides, as Janet Daily has shown in spades, there’s gold in them thar offsprings. Especially when their names are Calder. A good series requires offspring to strut their stuff. I think it has something to do with the economics of romance publishing, but now to the subjects at hand.

The three brothers had a falling out after their dad’s funeral. From that unpleasantness they each went in a different direction. Logan had his law degree and had done well starting a company that did do-it-yourself law complete with forms and instructions. He had sold the company for a tidy sum and decided to go back home and restore the family ranch. Tyler and Dylan worked rodeos and did some film work. Dylan had occasionally had talked to Logan but they still weren’t friends. Tyler was the one who tried never to have contact with his brothers. Logan wanted them to be in business together but the other two didn’t seem agreeable to that. Their dad hadn’t been a loving man. Each son had a different mother. Needless to say, their home life wasn’t pleasant.

Logan and Dylan are what I’ve come to expect from Miller and from the western romance genre in general: Generally well-crafted stories in well-researched settings, with generally interesting principle characters, facing life’s panoply of problems, some a bit stretchy, to be sure, but mostly true-to-life. Oh, yes, and there’s the romance part and my growing recognition that romance novels have more than their fair share of widows and widowers. But Tyler surprised me:

More accurately, the sex surprised me, not that sex is a bad thing (been there; done that, well, not ALL that; but, well, you get the picture.) It’s the quantity and the explicit details that made this last book of the trilogy a much less rewarding read for me.

When I read a Linda Lael Miller book I don’t expect to see the explicit sex like she wrote in Tyler. Not only was it an unexpected dip into porn, but it didn’t add a thing to the story. Needless to say I was disappointed. I e-mailed Miller and asked for an explanation, but I received no response. However, these books are worth the time and are excellent reading except for the sex in Tyler.

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