Dex has a new episode lined up, and this one is stationed in a mental instituted near his home of Seattle! The only problem for Perry is that she has to stay with Dex and his girlfriend, Jenn. Not to mention, the Shownet Christmas party is coming up - can she make a good impression to her coworkers?
I know this won't be a popular opinion (there are only 14X 3 star ratings and even LESS for 2- and 1- stars), but I'll just cut to the chase: this book was a disappointment to me. The thing that has drawn me most to this series (Dex and Perry, their great characters and their complicated relationship) was what made this book a chore to get through at times. It's a shame, again, because I really liked Halle's previous three entries, but I am rating/reviewing this book, not the others.
The biggest problem I had with this entry was the characters and how much time (probably almost 75% of the novel) was spent on them and their dysfunction. But before I get into the problems, let me give a few compliments.
I like that the characters are imperfect. I like that Perry can be insecure and blunt - characteristics that some authors are afraid to give to girls because they wouldn't be "pure and wholesome". I also was glad to see how she grew a backbone in this book and stopped putting up with Dex's sh!t. I like that Dex is actually a "bad boy" beyond the tattoos, the earrings, and the hair. I like the complicated relationship between Jenn and Dex and their selfish reasons for being together.
But did we have to go from everyone calling Perry "fat" to everyone wanting to kiss her amazing @$$, where she can do no wrong? The only characters that really don't like her are the evul ones (which, I hate to say it, smarts of a Mary Sue). Does Perry have to go around and insult any woman who likes popular music, is thin, and basically not "authentic" and "real" like Perry?
Why does Dex have to lead on two women - his girlfriend and Perry? Why can't a 30-something year old man use his mouth to TELL people how he feels and avoid half the conflict? (Yeah, he has a better excuse than most, but after awhile, I just wanted to strangle him and yell, "JUST TELL HER ALREADY!!")
Why does Jenn have to be an evul, cheating b!tch? Sure, I know some of this is just Perry's selfish, hateful bias coming out (because hating on a woman over a man is so worth it), but if it were JUST Perry, then there wouldn't be half-dozen other people who hate Jenn's guts and affirm Perry's opinion. Why couldn't Jenn have had more nuance? And Jenn was the ONLY one writing the hateful comments to Perry? A tour around YouTube shows that the hateful comments don't just come from ONE Anonymous person. (Yes, Shownet isn't YouTube, but it still unlikely that she would be the ONLY Anonymous calling Perry "fat".)
And THAT is what drug down this book for me. THAT is what made this book grate against me, kept me from reading it for days on end, and made me want to smack all three main characters. There was SO MUCH relationship drama, so much ring-around-the-rosie, so much of characters walking around refusing to say what is on their mind, so much hatred of Jenn for stupid things like her "slutty" clothes or the fact that she was a light-weight drinker (yes, Perry is that petty!) or as "authentic and original" as Perry was (which came across as pretentious and snobby) that I had trouble reading more than a few pages at a time. I wouldn't probably have had as much of a problem is Perry restricted her insults towards Jenn about real character faults, such as Jenn's shallowness, unfaithfulness, or rudeness, but instead, it's more like, "Oh, she's with the man *I* want to date - I hate her because she's in my way of having sex with the man I think is hot! And she's totally not as awesome or worthy of his attention as I am"
And it's a shame, because this book had a LOT going for it. This is probably the strongest horror story in the series. We get a lot of positive female characters - and some non-straight characters. And it is high time we addressed the Perry-Dex-Jenn dynamic. And if we had spent MORE time on the horror and less on Perry's dress-up session without bra and undies or Perry insulting Jenn at every turn, it would be a FANTASTIC book.
One more thing: the writing seriously needed another editing session. I found numerous grammatical and spelling errors and missing words. "Half drank" instead of "Half drunk". A missing "not" in a sentence that completely changed the meaning. I could maybe make an allowance if I were reading the ebook, but I bought the paperback. Also, the typeface made reading the book a challenge - words were smashed together (smashedtogether) or split funny (spli tfun ny) so that reading was a challenge.
I don't hate relationship drama in an urban fantasy series. It makes it more interesting than just another monster of the week and can push characters to new depths. But when the relationship dominates the fantasy elements and when it resorts to cliched characters and the worship of others, it starts to get hard to enjoy the novel. I got so mad at this book, there were a couple of times while reading this I considered not reading further into the series; however, the ending redeemed the series in my mind and bumped this to a 3 star rating. That said, I am taking a break from the series to calm myself down from the rage I felt while reading this. Hopefully when I return, I will be refreshed and ready to see what happens next to Dex and Perry.