Author Jessica Martinez
Released: October 7th 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Lenght: 432 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Valentina Cruz no longer exists.One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.
It’s no secret that Jessica Martinez’s debut novel, Virtuosity is one of my all-time favorite books. Carmen and Jeremy King had an amazing chemistry and they worked together so well. It’s been years, but I still remember their love so vividly. Then came Jessica’s sophomore novel, The Space Between Us. It too was memorable, but for entirely different reasons. I can still taste the disappointment, the feeling of being let down by an author I trusted. I didn’t even bother with The Vow, choosing to trust a few friends who didn’t think much of it. But Kiss Kill Vanish lured me in with its memorable title, gorgeous cover, and still, still, Jessica’s name on it. But was it worth it? No.
I’d love to say that it’s a matter of personal taste, and I suppose it always is to a certain extent. But a completely outlandish plot and a protagonist who refuses to think with her own head should bother just about anyone. The plot of Kiss Kill Vanish is so poorly thought-through, so full of plot holes and nonsensical details that it borders on being ridiculous.
Just days ago, I read a good book made infinitely better by its smart, resourceful heroine. With Kiss Kill Vanish it’s exactly the opposite: it’s a mediocre book made worse but the witless, thoughtless protagonist whose moral compass needs some serious recalibrating. With her selfishness, inconsistencies and complete and utter blindness to anything that might offend her delicate sensibilities, Valentina was absolutely infuriating.
Her thoughtlessness influenced every aspect of her life: her relationship with her father and her sisters, her romantic entanglements and even her superficial friendships with her roommate and employers. It was clear from the very beginning that her boyfriend Emilio was a dishonest, manipulative criminal, and yet the mere sound of his voice was enough to weaken Valentina’s resolve. She not only witnessed him murdering someone, but she suspected him of killing another person in cold blood, and yet she insisted on pretending that nothing was wrong.
Even the second romance was born mostly out of Valentina’s selfishness. The way she handled Emilio and Marcel showed that she was too immature to tie her own shoes, let alone handle adult relationships. I’ve seen reviewers compare her to Bella Swan, but I actually liked Bella, and there was nothing even remotely likeable about Valentina Cruz.
It needs to be said that Martinez's prose is gorgeous, and that her ability to string amazingly fluid sentenced together remains unchanged. But that alone isn't enough to justify reading this book. The plot and the final scenes combined with Valentina’s character made me realize that it’s time for Jessica Martinez and me to part ways. One wonderful book does not a career make, and while I’ll always adore Virtuosity, I doubt I’ll ever read another one of her books.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.