Friday, April 13, 2012

Virtual Virgin

Virtual Virgin is the fifth book in Carole Nelson Douglas' Delilah Street: Paranormal Investigator series. I've been a fan of Douglas' Midnight Louie series which features a cat who talks like a 40s private dick so I thought I'd give this urban fantasy a try.

I'm not really sure what to say about this book. It was weird. It was funny sometimes. Ridiculous often. Just like any of the other Douglas books I've read. I'm just not sure the wacky translated well into urban fantasy. I can't believe I just typed that sentence. I'm the one who likes Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crime series. How can I not like wacky in my urban fantasy? This book just didn't touch me. I have no desire to read any of the others in the series. There are some interesting elements vampires, werewolves, fae, magic. All things I like in a book. I can't explain why I didn't like this book more.

My dislike might have started when I realized that the book blurb was misleading. It talks about a CinSim of the robot woman from Metropolis. She is:
Part innocent teenage actress, part depraved sex goddess, the new Maria is hooked on Deliah's partner, Ric who raised her fromt he dead.... Delilah's not the jealous type but this tin-can temptress must be stopped...
 I'm not exactly sure of the process but I think that somehow, zombies of actors are melded with the silver nitrate in old films to actually become their famous characters. That sound you hear is Bela Lugosi spinning in his cape. It's a cute gimmick. Douglas gets to populate her world with Nick and Nora Charles (complete with Asta) and use Perry Mason as a surrogate father for her heroine. It also calls for a lot of explanation of who the CinSims are. Anyone who has actually seen Metropolis is going to be bored to tears with the vast amount of exposition relating to the plot of the film.

Now back to the blurb, the robot has two lines in the whole book. She mostly stands there looking vacant in two or three scenes. She's not enough of a person to actually want Ric. She calls him master because her character had one in the film. It's also obvious that Ric's only interest in her is what his responsibility is since he was the one who raised her. This leads him to an explorations of the lives and exploitation of CinSims. We're told that everyone wants the robot but we're not really told why. It's all kind of vague. It's a tenuous reason for Ric to go after the drug lord/demon who abused him as a child.

Maybe that's why I'm not in love with this book. Everything is too tenuous. There's no real plot, just a bunch of loosely connected stories (or scenes) and nothing is really resolved at the end.