Review date: 4/18/2012
Rating: *** (3 stars or C)
The Men Who Walk the Edge has been a good series. I have been a big fan of Lori’s writing for a long time, so it was disappointing that this book was not the perfect storm for me. Let me start out by saying that Spencer is widowed, and loved his wife very much. There was a bit of a zing between him and Arizona at the end of book 3 in this series, but in all honesty I was not sure that Arizona’s character could support an entire book. She didn’t, and at least half of the book revolved around all of the other characters we have met in the course of this series. Arizona was sold to traffickers by her father when she was very young, so she has been used and abused, with no idea what love and compassion are. She’s got it bad for Spencer, and Spencer does like Arizona, although she is at least 11 years younger than him. In the beginning his thoughts are to teach her to love, accept compassion and compliments from others so she can move on with her life. But it is very obvious Arizona has no plans for moving on from Spencer.
Arizona is happiest when she is smack dab in the middle of a fight. She knows her weapons, and is bored doing research for Jackson. The story started out with human trafficking being the main plot line, which slid off the slope somewhere along the line. The story is not action driven, it totally focuses on Arizona and Spencer. Even though Arizona has come to Spencer with a job opportunity on a business she has scoped out and believes to be a front for traffickers, it takes about half of the book for this story line to materialize. When she has her opportunity to shine during the confrontation, her impatience doesn’t do her any favors, along with all the alcohol she consumed because she couldn’t figure her way around not accepting the drinks. The morning after the great caper could have provided some much needed humor, but was sadly lacking. Spencer has a neighbor Maria who he has done the tangled sheet dance with, and I almost felt sorry for her when confronting Arizona. In defense of Maria, I too would have been left standing there wondering what the…….!!!
Trace, Dare & Jackson want Arizona to become a member of “the family”, although she resists with everything she’s got. Her temper tantrums and attitude are often that of a 12 year old, so her age really did become a factor for me in this setting. She came across as a bratty little girl, which made one wonder what Spencer saw in her, other than the fact she is stacked to perfection. The sex scenes were hot, but I did have a hard time feeling the love. It was more like Spencer was preparing Arizona for her future loves, and he didn’t plan on being that person.
Being able to revisit the rest of the cast was the highlight for me. As the trafficking plot ebbed away, everyone gathers at Dare’s for a 21st birthday party for Arizona. The very best part? Chris, by a long shot! The guy is amazing! He is the one who should have been in charge of rehabbing poor Arizona, since she really could relate to him and felt very comfortable with him. He helped her through the entire party, and his explanations of why the guys were doing this for her was the only way she was able to come to terms with her new found family. Chris also gave her the perfect gift, again bringing home the point of how well he knows Arizona, and people in general. While the rest of them are all watching this scene with their mouths hanging open, because they all tried so hard to buy the perfect gift, Chris bats another one out of the park. Go team Chris!!
OVERALL – this was not a horrible read by any means. I was left to ponder if Lori Foster is trying to appeal to a new audience, say young adults in the 18 – 23 year old age bracket? If you have been a long time reader of hers, I think it’s fair to say we all ache for characters more like those Buckthorne men, or a place called Visitation. I am not a re-reader and won’t go back to visit them, but Lori was the master in those books of creating the perfect everyday man, someone you could relate to, know or work with in your own life. The trafficking theme is getting old too. Every morning when I open up my laptop, there is Lori’s wallpaper with “the perfect man” taking up my entire screen, starting out my day just right!!!