My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I’ve posted before about my affection for Elizabeth Lowell’s books, formulaic though they are. Whirlpool is no exception, though it’s an earlier example of a formula she’s used to better effect in more recent books: i.e., an independently operating agency out to recover a Valuable Shiny Thing, a hero who’s a Reluctant Operative of the Agency and who is assigned over his protests to look out for the heroine, and of course a Heroine Who Has the Shiny Thing, and who must be protected from the Bad Guys Who Want the Shiny Thing. In this particular case, the Agency is Risk Limited; the hero, Cruz Rowan; the heroine, Laurel Swann; and the Shiny Thing, a Faberge egg that her father has foisted off on Laurel, an egg with a priceless treasure hidden inside of it. A treasure which, naturally, the Bad Guys are desperate to get hold of.
Here, however, is where the book falls down for me. I had to specifically remind myself of what this book was about, as I remembered very little of it except for the overuse of a particularly annoying trope: i.e., the Bad Guys being signified as the Bad Guys because they’re the ones having lots of kinky sex. This is emphasized almost more than the primary bad guy being obsessed with medical treatments keeping him looking far younger than his actual age, though that was played up a lot too. Overall, though, it was annoying. And there wasn’t much substance in the characterization of the Home Team to balance these problems out.
Lowell’s done better, so if you’d like to see her in better form, there are plenty of other options. For this one, two stars.