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Eddie, my Love by Patricia Green (RE-POST)

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Review by Etta Stark

Eddie, my Love is the third book in Patricia Green’s Romantek series, an original and highly imaginative story premise which combines sci-fi and historical fiction. It’s the 22nd century and people are able to take literal dream holidays with Romantek – fully immersive virtual reality fantasies set in a time and place of their choosing. It’s a fantastic idea which allows Patricia Green to set the books anywhere she wants. The first book, The Winner, was set in the Wild West and the second, Charlotte and the Pirate, was set on the high seas during the golden age of piracy.

This one takes place in 1950s Los Angeles. The heroine, going by her character name of June for most of the story, has chosen a private eye film noir adventure for her dream holiday and finds herself paired with Eddie Strong, Private Investigator as the two of them try to get to the bottom of the suspicious death of a society lady.

I hadn’t previously given much thought to how well a hard-boiled private investigator would suit being the hero of a spanking romance. Very well indeed it turns out, at least in Patricia Green’s capable hands. Eddie is a Philip Marlow-esque character, all cynical eyebrow raises and snappy put-downs. When I checked my notes for this book, it turns out that every single thing I had highlighted was a cool or sexy line delivered by Eddie. “This is it, kid,” for example, “Tell me yes or no, but don’t make it maybe.” Every time he said anything like that to June, I just sort of melted a bit. I swear if it would have been possible to draw little pink hearts around Eddie’s best dialogue on my Kindle, I probably would have done.

June and Eddie have great chemistry and they manage to combine their investigations with getting to know one another very well indeed. The getting to know one another’ process involves Eddie putting June across his knee pretty frequently, you’ll be pleased to know. Usually for doing something dangerous that he’s just told her not to. She gets three spankings in a single day at one point. She’s not a fast learner.

The mystery that they need to solve is properly thought out and executed as the pair rush around picking up clues and eliminating suspects. It made me wonder whether Patricia Green needed to have bothered with the Romantek premise at all. The story would have worked just as well as straightforward 1950s crime fiction.

I do like Romantek holidays as a framing device though. It gives the stories a similar vibe to time travel stories as we see the characters reacting and adapting to the ways of the past while looking at everything from a modern perspective. Or rather a futuristic perspective in this given that the characters come from a time at least a hundred years ahead of our own where amongst other things private cars and carbohydrates are no longer commonplace. Patricia Green certainly has her work cut out for her as keeping all her plates spinning. The geek in me wants to understand exactly how these holidays work and what the rules are. Why for example was Audrey in the first book allowed to use her real name in her dream when the characters in this one are specifically prohibited from mentioning theirs? Why the massive secrecy in the first place? And why are there apparently no web forums in the 22nd century?

I hope Patricia Green plans to write plenty more Romantek adventures. They’re a bit like Doctor Who in that the stories can be set literally anywhere in space and time while still sharing a common narrative.

It would be great to see some of the characters from earlier books recurring in subsequent ones. Particularly Rex, Romantek’s counter cyber-terrorism expert and the evil hacker from the second book.

One of the features of Romantek’s dream holidays is that the characters that you get to interact with may either be computer simulations or real people enjoying Romantek holidays of their own. So far in the series, all the protagonists – including June and Eddie – have always fallen in love with other participants. The premise has left me wondering what it would be like to fall in love within Romantek when the object of your desires is a computer program. It must be easy to do, particularly if they were specifically programmed to fulfil your fantasies. It would be a really interesting area for Patricia Green to explore although I don’t know how feasible it would be to write a successful romance where one of the heroes doesn’t actually exist. It would be a hell of an obstacle to overcome.

Luckily that isn’t a problem for June. Eddie is all real man. I have loved all of the Romantek stories so far but Eddie, my love is definitely my favourite. The 1950s film noir setting is perfectly realised and the dialogue and character interaction is tremendous fun. The spankings are an absolute delight. It doesn’t matter in what order you read the books in series – you don’t have to have read either of the earlier books, to enjoy this one fully. Just make sure you come back to them later.

 

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