You Don't Know Jack
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I was a little nervous when I first spied You Don’t Know Jack by Erin McCarthy there on the shelf at my local bookstore. Often when a romance novel has a whimsical, or even cheesy, title it can go either way. Nerd in Shining Armor was great; To Hell With Love, not so much. I’m happy to say that this particular novel leaned toward “great.”

Jamie Peters is a young woman living in New York City, earning her living as a social worker. Having suffered through a string of “frogs,” she has lost all hope of ever meeting her Prince. Luckily, Jamie is friends with a psychic named Beckwith—but he’s not like any psychic you’ve ever seen before.

The character of Beckwith is a hoot! (It doesn’t get much better than a six-foot-tall cross-dressing psychic). Beckwith foretells that Jamie is going to meet her soul mate, but it’s going to happen through an act of dishonesty. Cut to a few weeks later and Jamie (literally) runs into Jack Davidson. Jack happens to be a millionaire, having made the big bucks working as a stock trader on Wall Street (this must have been written before the Dow Jones began its suicidal plunge of late). He’s also the brother of Jamie’s roommate, Caroline.

Jack, who is now retired at the ripe old age of 30, spends his time taking care of his crotchety grandfather and helping his family’s Foundation root out fraud amongst the many charities and organizations that ask the Foundation for funding. He suspects Jamie’s social services company is involved in illegal day trading, and Jack begins to follow Jamie to investigate. When they meet, he doesn’t tell her anything about himself—not about his money or his family—thus fulfilling the “dishonesty” part of Beckwith’s soothsaying. Jack tries to root out the illegal trading, along with keeping in Jamie’s good graces (which isn’t easy considering he lied to her).

There were a few flaws with this book, but not many. I felt the “illegal day trading” aspect was glossed over and rooted out far too quickly and without enough tension. In fact, there wasn’t much tension in the novel at all—Jamie kept pushing Jack away, but three pages later she’d wind up in his arms again. They both had preconceived notions about each other—Jamie thought Jack was just another snooty rich guy, and Jack thought Jamie was just another hippie who’d want him to give up all his money and to stop working for “The Man.” Luckily, the good aspects of the novel outweighed the bad.

The dialogue is great! It’s fresh and modern, peppered with a good amount of pop culture references, but not enough to make it lame. The characters are amusing and colorful, and they all seemed like people I wouldn’t mind sitting down and having a beer with (or, in the case of Beckwith, a frou-frou drink with an umbrella). And of course, there were the love scenes; holy cannoli, they were HOT, HOT, HOT! Not only were the love scenes scorchingly erotic, they went on for a whole chapter at a time, sometimes more. Yowza!

I would most definitely recommend You Don’t Know Jack to anyone looking for a good romance novel—especially if they’re looking for blazing hot love scenes, quirky dialogue, and original characters. I might not know “Jack,” but I do know this was a great book!

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