Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"The Brass Bed" by Jennifer Stevenson

SYNOPSIS:
Chicago is being overwhelmed by magic seemingly being blown everywhere. The mayor orders his subordinates to conceal what is going on insisting he fears a panic. Chicago Department of Consumer Services investigator Jewel Heiss is unhappy with her boss with all the goings-one he assigns her to perform surveillance of his wife, who happens to be her best friend.

Her surveillance introduces Jewel to Clay Dawes, who claims his magical brass bed will cure all female sexual problems by simply taking a nap in it. Jewel is upset with the scoundrel who charges an exorbitant fee, but takes him up on his challenge of testing the bed free of charge as long as he is in it with her. However, his brass bed also contains an incubus cursed in the nineteenth century for being a crappy lover while a genie is turning the city into a magical mystery mayhem tour.

The speed is hectic from the onset, but fans of urban investigative romantic fantasies will hop onto THE BRASS BED for the wild ride. Though at times wordy, the lighthearted story line has a lot going on so it bewilders the audience as it does the investigative heroine who must decide between sexual curse and sexual fraud either way she wants to test first her hand (and a few other body parts).
Harriet Klausner

I had planned to review this novel with its' followup The Velvet Chair, but after finishing this I decided to pass on the sequel until later. Why? Well this romantic comedy is built pretty much on the single idea of Jewel pursing her sex demon from the Brass Bed. While at times this leads to all kinds of hijinks the scenes are never as funny or engaging as they should be. Jewel does have some good snappy dialogue, both internal and external, but the supporting characters struck me as too cardboard. I had added this to my reading list based on the reviews I had read of her first book Trash Sex Magic which was nominated for both a Nebula and on the Locus Reader Poll for Best First Novel.

And a note to Harriet, perhaps we are carrying the genre categorization a little too far with "urban investigative romantic fantasies". Wow.

EDIT:
After I completed this review I came across a marketing piece promoting the book which is actually well done. Kind of reminds me of those movie trailers that appear to promise a great movie but once you've seen the movie you discover the trailer was better.

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