Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Rogue Hunter (Argeneau #10) (Argeneau #10) by Lynsay Sands

Samantha Willan is a promising young lawyer -- in need of a vacation -- especially after a break up with her longterm boyfriend.  When Samantha heads up to the cottage north of Toronto, all she is expecting is some quality time with her sisters, maybe a few insect bites and a campfire or two.  Samantha finds herself wondering about her elusive new neighbour.  What Samantha dosen't realise is that meeting Garrett Mortimer, will change her life forever.

The Rogue Hunter is a typical Sands novel and an easy continuation of the Argeneau series.  It follows the predictable path of boy meets girl, a misunderstanding and eventually the couple declare undying love after knowing each other for an extremely short period of time.  HAE always happens this way in this series and Sands always employs the same woo woo justification.  

As is typical for Sands, there is a small strain of humour in this novel.  It is largely comprised of Mortimer and Samantha trying to make love in the most unfortunate of circumstances.  An outdoor escapades for instance are interrupted by leeches ( yeah that would turn anyone off) and another by a bear. Unfortunately, much of the humor to me felt a little bit forced.

 Samantha is a good lawyer, on partner track and is dedicated to her sisters,. Of course she has the requisite dead parents which makes her close to her sisters. If Sands had left it at that, I really would have enjoyed Samantha's part of the story. Unfortunately, despite all of Samantha's accomplishments she suffers from low self esteem and spends quite a bit of time worrying about how skinny she is,  that she resembles Olive Oyle, has a metabolism that works too quickly and yes, has small breasts.  Is it really so hard to have a protagonist not hate her body?  It's just such a damn tired trope in this genre. Yes, the media encourages all women to believe that there is something wrong with their bodies but believe it or not, some women actually like themselves for who they are.

Then in a sort of perverse body shaming, we were introduced to Cathy Latimer, the goddaughter of Samantha's boss. Cathy not only look like Jessica Rabbit, with a sashay to boot, she is the time of woman Latimer has always believed would be his life mate. However, when  Cathy comes onto Mortimer,  he is quick to reject her.
Cathy Latimer wasn't used to rejection. With a figure and moves like hers, Mortimer wasn't surprised. Few would refuse what she offered so freely, and no doubt frequently. But while another man might have taken her up on the offer, Mortimer was sure that man would have then tossed her aside like a used tissue when he was done. At least he would if he thought like Mortimer. In his opinion, there was little value in something everyone could—and probably had—had (page 180)
Keep in mind that Mortimer has known Cathy for a N.Y. minute and is already declaring the woman a whore because she has the nerve to express sexual interest in him.  How would he have any idea of how many men she has slept with?  Even if he knew, what is it any of his business?  Cathy is simply an excuse for Sands to play poorly with Madonna/Whore.  Cathy who has a very insignificant role in the story, plays the part of whore and Samantha the part of Madonna because of course, she is another in a long line of gently used protagonists.

It is now book ten in the Argeneau series and it continues to be completely devoid of any marginalized characters whatsoever.  The Rogue Hunter brought the story back to Southern Ontario, where Sands herself is from.  It is astounding to me that she can live in Southern Ontario and continue to write such erased stories, thus perpetuating the idea that Canada is all straight, White, cisgnder, and able bodied.

We did however have a small reference to homosexuality in  The Rogue Hunter.  Don't get excited because you're not going to like it.
except that it was always he and Bricker and not he, Bricker, and Decker. The way he spoke made it sound almost like they were partners, she thought with a frown, and then her eyes widened with horror as she wondered if they were partners. A gay couple. Dear God, it would be just like her to be interested in a gay man. And it was more than possible, she realized with dismay. Sam already knew she was completely lacking in gaydar. One of the lawyers at the firm was apparently gay, but she hadn't had a clue until her secretary had commented on how handsome and nice he was and it being such a shame he was gay. Sam had spent the last year just thinking his life partner was a roommate and friend until that point.(pg 100-101)
And then....

He was peering down at the map book and didn't notice her arrival, so she took the opportunity to look him over as she approached, desperately seeking some sign of his sexual preference. Unfortunately, she didn't see anything that she recognized as either gay or nongay. The man wore the standard attire of jeans and a T-shirt; had short, kempt dirty-blond hair; and was clean-shaven. That didn't tell her anything, Sam thought, and then frowned as she noted that he was also very pale.  (pg 101-101)

So first, Samantha blathers on about the possibility that Mortimer is gay and then we have the conversation with the secretary calling a gay man's sexuality a shame.  If that were not enough, Samantha goes on about a lack of "gaydar" and even tries to guess Mortimer's sexuality by looking at him.  Keep in mind this all occurs in a series in which ten books have been written and there isn't a single LGBT character.  Really?  Really Lynsay Sands?  It's beyond problematic that Sands can include such problematic language, yet cannot be arsed to include a gay character.

I never go into this series expecting more than a little light fluff and maybe a few laughs. When Sands is on point, her stories can actually be quite funny; however, The Rogue Hunter failed to amuse me in the slightest.  When combined with the erasure and the mockery of homosexuality, this book just fails.