Black Ice

Black Ice  - Anne Stuart I picked this up after hearing so much about Anne Stuart and her gamma heroes. The concept of an amoral, dangerous person being a romance hero intrigued me, but I ended up distracted by the details as the book went on.Chloe Underwood is an American in Paris working as a children's book translator when her roommate begs her to take a weekend translator job at a chateau in the French countryside. Enticed by the great pay, she takes a few suitcases of her fashionable roommate's clothes and sets off to translate for what she believes is a business meeting between grocery wholesalers. She quickly realizes, however, that things aren't what they seem, and that the grocers are actually (DUN DUN DUN) a shadowy arms dealing syndicate.Bastien Toussaint wonders who and what Chloe is. He's a jaded and bone-tired agent of some sort who's working covertly to undermine the syndicate. Noticing that she understands more languages than the French and English she admits to knowing, he suspects her of being a spy or something and sets out to screw the truth out of her. Little Chloe gets under his skin, however, and he ultimately kills one of the syndicate to save her, setting off a dramatic escape sequence.Black Ice was entertaining in a Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer sort of way. The plot had a number of weak spots and begged a few favors of my belief. First and foremost being Chloe's involvement in the first place. You're a secret, shadowy arms dealing bad guy crew and you're going to have a completely unknown temp worker as your translator? What? Then when you notice it's a dumb idea, because she isn't like her dumb blond roommate (that makes so much more sense?), and you try to dismiss her, you weakly let her talk you into keeping her on the job? Um, no.But, Transformers had a weak plot, but I saw it multiple times in theaters anyways. (What? You have your Richard Armitage, I have my Optimus Prime. It's a free country.) So, ignoring the silliness, it was an exciting afternoon watching Chloe and Bastien run for their lives, fighting and hiding and banging as they went. And just like Transformers, the silliness of the plot takes a bite out of the feelings. I was entertained by murder and mayhem. At times I found it gross, but never did I find it scary or actually worry for the protagonists. With one exception, everyone in danger or who ended up dead was made unsympathetic, so I was never on the edge of my seat with anticipation. I was dispassionately counting body bags.Since the murder and mayhem was so black and white, our supposedly gamma hero never really felt conflicted to me. For all he talked about being morally bankrupt, he always seemed to make the noble choice in the book. He didn't seem to need reforming or civilizing. I wish him luck with his feisty, TSTL heroine in their future endeavors.