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Friday, April 23, 2010

'Charlie all Night' by Jennifer CRUSIE


From the BLURB:

Dumped by her boyfriend and demoted from WBBB's prime-time spot, radio producer Allie McGuffey has nowhere to go but up. She plans to make her comeback by turning temporary DJ Charlie Tenniel into a household name. And if he's willing to help her cure her breakup blues with a rebound fling, that's an added bonus.

Charlie just wants to kick back, play good tunes and eat Chinese food. He's not interested in becoming famous. But he is interested in Allie. And after all, what harm in a little chemistry between friends?

But suddenly their one-night stand has become a four-week addiction. Night after night on the airwaves, his voice seduces her. . .and all the other women in town. He's a hit. It looks as if Charlie's solved all Allie's problems. . .except one. What is she going to do when he leaves?

Jennifer Crusie was recommended to me on the promise that she writes superb ‘chick lit’.

I really liked ‘Charlie all Night’ – I absolutely gobbled it up in 2 days. But I can’t quite put my finger on why I liked it so darn much…. I am writing this view having let a week lapse since I finished reading the book. And now I’m trying to explain why I liked it so much, and I really can’t articulate.

The storyline starts at great heights – Allie McGuffey, radio show producer, has been dumped by her lover and talk-show star and passed over for her younger intern. To add insult to injury, Mark (her ex) has also insisted that Allie be removed from his premier drive-time radio slot so that his new (and younger) girlfriend can produce the show. That leaves Allie producing the graveyard 6PM – 2AM slot. And her new talk show ‘star’ is Charlie Tenniel – who has his own agenda that doesn’t quite factor into Allie’s plans.
Charlie is working undercover as a favor to WBBB owner, Bill. Someone has left an anonymous letter threatening to expose a drug-ring that’s working through the radio station. Charlie has a month to find the drug-pusher and fend off disaster.

So – a very intense plot is introduced.

But then Crusie lets things slide… Allie and Charlie have an instant attraction that makes a nice rebound for Allie, and a sweet distraction for Charlie. But somewhere along the way they become very sweet and enamored of one another – they start to appreciate the little things, like having a warm body to snuggle with at night. Crusie also delves into some very lovely and smutty sex scenes between the two;

She gripped the headboard until her knuckles went white, trying to stay with him, but his whisper pounded inside her and she couldn’t breathe because the heat was everywhere. “You’re so sweet.”
And then he licked inside her again and again, and she writhed in his grasp, and he moved his mouth harder against her, holding her hips harder against him, and she couldn’t twist away, didn’t want to twist away, had to twist away as the heat screamed through her veins until she cried out, “Oh, Charlie, now,” and he whispered, “Soon”, and he drove her on and on until she went over the edge, ecstatically out of control.

Charlie is still investigating the ‘drug syndicate’, but in a half-hearted way as he finds accidental success as a sleuthing radio DJ.
Allie is no longer upset at being dumped by ‘radio King’, Mark – and instead finds amusement in his schmaltzy radio gimmicks and pretentiousness.

It’s a bit strange – Crusie starts off by introducing these very complicated and tangled plots that you think will make for an intriguing climax and increase narrative tension… but then the plots just sort of patters out and becomes a ho-hum afterthought.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this book. It’s just that once I finished reading it and had to come back to describe what happened – I sort of realized that nothing much really happened. Crusie promises a lot, but doesn’t really deliver and it’s only in hindsight that I realize that’s maybe not a good thing.

There were aspects of ‘Charlie all Night’ that I really liked. For one thing, the unconventional male lead in Charlie Tenniel. Allie’s ex, Mark, was the devilishly handsome radio-show host. Charlie, in contrast, is this big guy who looks like a thug and whom Allie admits isn’t exactly good-looking. I loved that – the fact that Allie’s knight in shining armor isn’t an Adonis to rival her handsome ex, but this really sweet ‘guys guy’ who she clicks with in a very base way.
I loved to hate Mark – he acts exactly the way I think a ‘shock jock’ DJ would – and he’s absolutely hilarious!
Crusie also has quite a talent for writing sex scenes, which is always appreciated in a chick-lit author.

I did enjoy reading this one. True, I was in the mood for an easy ‘chick lit’ read and ‘Charlie all Night’ definitely scratched that itch. But the storyline doesn’t deliver, and that’s a real shame. Still, I think I will check out Ms. Crusie’s other works.

3/5

3 comments:

  1. I read one Jennifer Crusie book and enjoyed it, and several people have recommended to me "Agnes and the Hitman" which I have in my TBR. I'll be watching to see if you review anything else by this author! *cue dark music*

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  2. hmmmmm not my cup of tea LOL

    good review though! =)

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  3. Jennifer Crusie is one of my favorites!

    Try: Fast Women, Welcome to Temptation, and Faking It
    Those are my three favorites.

    Charlie All Night is one of her earlier books, and while enjoyable, it is not as polished and engrossing as her later works.

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