Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Michele Albert -- One Way Out

Michele Albert -- One Way Out

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {3.95}
Action: ♠♠♠.♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣.♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥♥ / Sensuous: ♦♦♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠.♠
Action: 3.5 / Emotion: 3.5 / Romance: 4.0 / Sensuous: 3.0 / Suspense: 3.5  //  Laughter: 1½ / Tears: 0

Setting:     Wyoming
Era:           Present Day [2005]
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Having read all the books included under The Avalon Investigations Series of Michele Albert's book list, would like to divide this selection into two different series; naming them: {1} The Pre-Avalon Series and {2} The Avalon Investigations Series.

Don't know if it is explainable, but for some reason the way Michele Albert writes a story appeals to me.   She just seems to make people feel real in her books.   It brings the characters alive and makes for an engrossing read.   And while One Way Out, the fourth book of The Pre-Avalon Series, was another enjoyable, intriguing read, it did not have the depth of character connection that came across in the previous books of this series.

Any true blue romance reader has to love the way Albert introduced her 'bold as brass' heroine, Cassie Parker Ashton, barging into the middle of her nemesis' archeological dig and, in spite of having a full-fledged hatred toward paleontologist professor Alex Martinelli, Ph.D., she is pure female in her appreciation of his body as she shouts for him to come down from the rock face and talk to her.

She'd noticed all right.   The leather straps and ropes nicely framed the best, and the most arrogant ass, in all Wyoming.   (Cassie, page 2)

As he descended, Cassie couldn't help focusing once more on how the harness cradled his rear and groin over the worn denim of his jeans, revealing a most impressive package, front and back.   (Cassie, page 4)

Albert is truly gifted when it comes to writing entertaining dialogue that makes turning the pages that much more interesting.   It was pure entertainment as Albert revealed that Cassie and Alex had been having an ongoing battle for years and that they had respective cheering sections.   Since Cassie was in Alex's territory, she was subjected to the editorial comments of his grad students, particularly the tall, blond, twenty-something Melissa that claimed Alex as hers.   But in spite of all the animosity, it was obvious Cassie "actually enjoyed these little sparring matches with Martinelli" (page 5).

Cassie had stumbled upon the find of a lifetime, a baby tyrannosaurus skeleton, but since she was not a member of the hallowed academic Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, she must cross all her I's and dot her T's to finally receive the respect she craves.   To do that Cassie must offer Alex the opportunity to work with her on unearthing, documenting and validating the baby t-rex.

Although the suspenseful aspect of Albert's books is generally light, she begins building up a sense of ill will by introducing Alex's second in command, the older, sand-encrusted professor, Don Cleary, as he sits and talks to Alex about the unfairness of them having to stand in the shadow of Cassie after she made another stellar find.   While Alex and Don have to go through academic red tape and follow the rules, Cassie is out there making finds that they envy.   Don is also utilized as a sounding board for Alex so Albert can begin painting a picture of the dissatisfaction that has become his life.   And then she finishes the canvas by having Melissa dump Alex, saying:

"There isn't anything you care about.   Not even your work, despite the big act you're always putting on.   And that's why you fight with that woman, isn't it?   So nobody will notice you're just going through the motions." (Melissa, page 61)

It seems everyone but Alex and Cassie can see the sparks that flew between them were full of attraction.   When Alex and Cassie fought, it was like they were the only two people alive.

"When you're with that Ashton woman, there's a huge arc of energy between you, so strong everybody notices.   So strong the two of you don't see or hear anything or anybody else."   (Don, page 64)

It was particularly disappointing that Albert failed to spend enough time in the mind of Alex to instill an emotional connection.   Sure she fed us facts about Alex's life as he began interacting with the bossy, spunky, bigger-than-life Cassie, but she failed to paint a picture of his psyche that made it easy to identify with his feelings and flow into the emotional aspect of the story.   But that was par for the course, because it was also difficult to identify on a sympathetic level with Cassie.   Whenever she bulldozed her way through the pages and then tried to explain her point of view after all the shouting had died down, it was easier to identify with the other characters rather than with Cassie.

Cassie had a larger cast of secondary characters upon which Albert built her personality.   Cassie fought with her mother, Ellen Parker, who faded into the background shortly after she rang up a sale at the Hell Creek Rock Shop or called Cassie to task for not being a more doting mother.   There was no in-depth development of the tense mother-daughter relationship beyond the fact that Ellen wanted Cassie to stop looking for rocks and to get re-married and have more children.

Fifteen year old, Travis Ashton, played a big role in Cassie's life, but not quite as big a role in her book.   It was obvious that Cassie loved her son, but she tended to overlook him in her efforts to prove herself as a viable, respectable paleontologist.   Travis was a cute addition to the story and loved the scene where he named the baby t-rex Trixie.   But the most revealing statement Travis made showed that maybe Cassie's priorities were skewed.

"Why do those stupid dinosaurs always have to be more important than anybody else?"   (Travis, page 215)

It is too bad that Albert did not take more time to develop the personality and mindset of Wyatt Parker, Cassie's younger, 'too much like her to get along with her' brother.   The raging arguments that happened between Cassie and Wyatt were prime examples of how close-minded Cassie appeared to be as she ran roughshod over anyone whose opinions differed from her own.   Wyatt only got to have one little point of view scene that made him memorable.   Wished that Albert had more fully developed Wyatt's personality and featured him a bit more in his sister's book.

Two more minor characters worked for the Hell Creek Fossil Company, but after they were described, they, too, almost disappeared into the background.   There was the colorful, funny, lab's computer tech, Amy Gupta, who was oblivious to Wyatt's interest in her.   Then there was the mousy little lab manager, Mae [not even given a last name] that had such a big crush on Wyatt that everybody noticed (and Wyatt didn't know how to deal with).   And finally, there was the new part-time helper, Russ Noble, who was an intriguing addition to the story as it was revealed there was far more underneath his demeanor that his laid-back personality revealed.

Having read the previous books of the series, it is obvious that suspense is not Albert's strong suit, but she did begin to build a plotting sequence that enabled Alex and Cassie to end up together without a bunch of family members or grad students to get in the way of their budding romance.   Alex and Cassie were able to entertain with a few exciting incidents of action and adventure as they found themselves in several precarious situations as they struggled to retain custody of the much-wanted baby t-rex.

The romance aspect of the story didn't flow smoothly.   As Alex and Cassie were forced into close proximity, they finally acted on the raging lust that had been sparking between them.   And while the love scenes between Alex and Cassie were hot and full of sensuality and sizzle, the emotional aspect that is a necessary component to a successful love scene was missing.   The way Albert ended their first love scene in the woods with such an abrupt, unfinished feeling, left me wondering, what was that all about?   Albert didn't very successfully pick the threads of romance back up as Alex and Cassie were wondering, so now what?

Albert failed to explain Cassie's background to such a degree that could not understand why being right and in control became so all-fired important to her.   And why she was unwilling to face the cold, honest truth about herself.   Albert kept stressing that Cassie used her bossy boldness to hide her feelings, but it was never clear why she felt that way.   Why was she so afraid of having a romantic relationship?   Was Alex right when he said that Cassie wanted a man who would push back when she pushed?  

Albert even went to the trouble to write two specific scenes to shout out to the readers that Cassie had fallen in love with Alex.   First, Cassie was talking on the phone to Travis and let him know in no uncertain terms that she loved him more than the t-rex.

"When I find the people that took Trixie, I'm going to punish them to the full extent of the law.   But you know what?"
"What?"   His voice was low, sulky.
"If they'd taken you, I'd kill them."   (Cassie and Travis, page 217)

Then when Alex nearly got killed when he rushed to recuse Mae, Cassie came running up and in her usual 'bull in the china shop fashion' turned on Mae and spouted:

"You!   You're damn lucky he's not hurt, or you'd be drawing your last breath right now."   (Cassie, page 290)

But what it all boiled down to was that Cassie appeared to be a strong, determined, 'plow ahead against any obstacles' kind of woman, but, in the end, she was, basically, a cowardly run-away.

For Pete's Sake, why are these Michele Albert books listed as part of The Avalon Investigations Series?   One Way Out is the fourth book listed in this series and yet there is still no mention of the Avalon Investigation firm.   Why is the series named thus?   (Went to Michele Albert's website) and it states that Avalon was introduced in this book.   (Sorry, but I totally missed it!)   [Learned that Russ Noble's tie to Sheridan Expeditions is the Avalon connection.]

Having recently finished reading a trilogy in which the author wrote three good books but failed to finish them off with the kind of Epilogues that most appeal to me, it was wonderful to find that kind of Epilogue in this book.   Albert takes the readers back to visit the heros and heroines in her previous books when she reunites them for Jack and Diana's wedding.   But since it has been 20 months between reading book three and this book, I had to be disappointed because I couldn't remember all the pertinent details about Jack and Diana's (Getting Her Man), and Bobby and Emma's (Off Limits) stories.   It is for just this reason that I like to collect all the books of a series and read them back to back.

So, basically, even though Michele Albert has another enjoyable, entertaining read with One Way Out, this fourth book in The Pre-Avalon Series, it is not her best work.   {1} The hero was alpha and hunky, but his psyche was under-developed.   {2} The heroine was strong, bold, determined and multi-faceted, but she wimped out in the end.   {3} The dialogue was stellar until Alex and Cassie hooked up.   {4} The interaction between the characters added a sense of realism to the story.   {5} The sensuality in the love scenes was strong and potent.   {6} Although light on suspense and action, the plot was still entertaining.   Even though it is not Albert's best work, this book is still well worth reading.
--Vonda M. Reid ( Monday, December 10, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.)     [292]

Books In The Series: "The Pre-Avalon Series"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.09-1998Absolute TroubleJulien Langlois; stripperDulcinea "Dulcie" Quinn; former cop
02.10-2002Getting Her ManDr. Jack Austin; archaeology professorDiana Belmaine; Private Investigator
03.09-2003Off LimitsRobert "Bobby" Michael Halloran; detectiveEmma Frey; homicide detective
04.03-2005One Way OutDr. Alex Martinell; paleontologist; professorCassie Parker Ashton; treasure hunter

Books In The Series: "The Avalon Investigations Series"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.05-2006 Hide In Plain SightGriffith "Grif" Laughton; Avalon OperativeFiona Kennedy; bookstore owner
02.04-2007Tough EnoughWilliam "Will" Tiernay; Avalon OperativeMia Shaeffer Dolan; art restorer
03.03-2010Her Last ChanceVincent DeLuca; FBI Special AgentClaudia Cruz; Avalon Operative
04.hoping. . . Ben Sheridan; Avalon CEO. . .

Characters Found In "One Way Out"
Character Description Also In
Alex Martinelli[Hero] (1) best ass in Wyoming; arrogant; professor (2) lean, strong build. looked like poster boy for wilderness outfitter advertisement; expert climber (4) dark, dubious charm (5) Dr.; confidence of man who looked good and knew it; lean square build; sinews and tendons neatly outlined under sun-browned skin; dark hair on chest; hard lines of chest, ribs and belly (6) heart-breaking grin (7) Ph.D.; paleontologist (19) controversial young Turk from California (24) classic good looks; patrician nose; firm lips; hooded eyes; dark, volatile Mediterranean heritage (49) 37-y-o (62) divorced; daughter (63) well-honed avoidance skills (65) University of Wyoming (72) lean; vital; rapacious [prey] (93) purely physical aura about him (100) Berkeley alum (125) broody Italian looks; jean; denim shirt; white Resistol (126) strong, capable hands (129) clever and patient type (135) really beautiful smile (136) 2 years in Army (243) got along well with other kids; popular; couldn't connect (267) 4. One Way Out
1. Hide In Plain Sight
Cassie Parker Ashton[Heroine] (1) married; child; cynical; commercial collector (7) doomed to be cute until she was old and wrinkled (8) not a degreed paleontologist (19) left college to run ranch and shop when dad died; knocked up; married; divorced (32) barely 5'; perky; bouncy (46) sneaky; unscrupulous; stubborn; thick-skinned (48) Cassie Parker Ashton; "right there, in your face, every second she's around"; so tiny; so cute; scary; toughness catches you off guard (67) mouthy; curly brunette hair; sparkling eyes; attitude (71) stubborn; gutsy; shrewd (86) meticulous; cautious, patient worker (109) scattering of freckles on tanned face; little lines around her eyes accentuated their darkness; dark lashes; wide, generous mouth; wild, corkscrew curls (112) 36-y-o (118) 'charge in and attack' type (135) nocturnal (137) divorced at 22 (138) incredibly expressive face (159) radiated a vitality and energy that couldn't be ignored (173) hair brushed the small of her back (181) doesn't make close friends easily; trouble socializing (267) smooth, sun-browned skin (279) 2. Getting Her Man
3. Off Limits
4. One Way Out
1. Hide In Plain Sight
. . . . . . . . .
Josh [Ashton][No Appearance] Travis's father; fine blond hair; thickly lashed gray eyes (14) spoiled Travis (20) two daughters; tall; thin (37) cute in that grown-up-little-boy way (38)4. One Way Out
Travis [Ashton][Secondary Character] Cassie's 15-y-o son; father's fine blond hair; thickly lashed gray eyes (14) smart (21) not a mean bone in his body; couldn't hold a grudge; good natured (37) 3. Off Limits (m)
4. One Way Out
Trina [Ashton][No Appearance] Josh's wife (37) 4. One Way Out
Jack Austin[One Appearance] [Hero of Book 2] Diana's groom; Hollywood handsome in tuxedo (323) archaeologist (325) 2. Getting Her Man
3. Off Limits
4. One Way Out
1. Hide In Plain Sight
Diana [Belmaine][One Appearance] [Heroine of Book 2] Cassie's best friend (44) PI; specializes in black market antiquities thefts (230) regal; elegant (237) blond hair pulled back in simple french braid (323)2. Getting Her Man
3. Off Limits
4. One Way Out
1. Hide In Plain Sight
Betty[No Appearance] middle-aged woman who scheduled tours; took care of daily ranch business (97)4. One Way Out
Don Cleary[Secondary Character] gravelly voice; wiry old man; Cassie nicknamed "Igor"; Alex's second in command (3) ever present dirt caking his dry, gnarled hands; knuckles swollen by arthritis and years of harsh weather and physical labor (24) 4. One Way Out
Fenny[Rare Appearances] young ranch hand; part time; stood guard duty; coppery curls (183)4. One Way Out
Allan Folkes[No Appearance] Hell Creek Fossil Company's lawyer (102) 4. One Way Out
Emma Frey[One Appearance] [Heroine of Book 3] Bobby's girlfriend; Amazon; used to play basketball; detective (325)3. Off Limits
4. One Way Out
Amy Gupta[Secondary Character] lab's computer guru (16) lushly built; New Delhain ancestors; shiny black hair; black eyes; toffee-colored complexion; bright clothes; wrists smothered in bracelets; rings on every finger; diamond stud pierced her nose; colorful eccentric look (18) massive computer monitor; sucking on carrot stick; ever-present water bottle (30) full of energy; pretty; colorful; funny (86) 4. One Way Out
Bobby Halloran[One Appearance] [Hero of Book 3] detective (325) blue eyes (328) 1. Absolute Trouble
2. Getting Her Man
3. Off Limits
4. One Way Out
1. Hide In Plain Sight
Mr. Hayashida[No Appearance] called; wanted to buy Trixie (89)4. One Way Out
Van Hollander[Brief Appearance] Accord Airfield day manager; young; tall; fair-haired; ordinary-looking (270) 4. One Way Out
Hanshiro Katayama[No Appearance] assistant to Mr. Hayashida (107)4. One Way Out
Fiona [Kennedy][No Appearance] [Heroine of Book 1 of Next Series] Cassie's best friend (44) matron of honor; "Detail Girl" (323) freckled redhead (325) likes to quietly manage people and things (326) 2. Getting Her Man
3. Off Limits
4. One Way Out
1. Hide In Plain Sight
Billy Landry[One Appearance] new guy; interested in Melissa; working with Lee; stutters when gets excited (27) 4. One Way Out
Mae[Secondary Character] Cassie's lab manager; mousy geek girl (14) had crush on Wyatt (15) brown hair; thin face; Bambi eyes (19) employed 8 months (34) glasses (84) mother a hypochondriac (121) 4. One Way Out
Jaelynn [Martinelli][No Appearance] Alex's daughter; 14-y-o; lived in Brooklyn (220)4. One Way Out
Melissa[Brief Appearances] Alex's girlfriend // Alex's type; mid-20s; blond; leggy; striking in an athletic, wholesome sort of way (4) starry-eyed grad student (5) "Mel" (50) 4. One Way Out
Missy[No Appearance] Wyatt's current bed partner (93) 4. One Way Out
Nick[One Appearance] ranch hand (140)4. One Way Out
Russ Noble[Secondary Character] Cassie's new part time help (16) slender; black hair; mixed white and Cheyenne heritage; free-lanced for a wilderness travel outfit; found baby rex (17) Navy transport pilot; both parents a pilot (245) 4. One Way Out
1. Hide In Plain Sight
2. Tough Enough
3. Her Last Chance
Ellen Parker[Brief Appearances] Cassie's mother (16)4. One Way Out
John Parker[No Appearance] Cassie's father; an eternal child; gave Cassie a sense of belonging (118)4. One Way Out
Wyatt [Parker][Secondary Character] Cassie's younger brother; dark hair; dark eyes (14) emotional maturity of 3-y-o (15) muscled; fractious relationship with Cassie (22) 30-y-o (82) 4. One Way Out
Ben [Sheridan][No Appearance] Russ's boss (248) 4. One Way Out
1. Hide In Plain Sight
2. Tough Enough
3. Her Last Chance
Tom[No Appearance] [Cassie's brother] no interest in ranch (33) 4. One Way Out
Vern[No Appearance] old man; really one who found baby rex (17)4. One Way Out
Rainert von Lahr[No Appearance] Mae' employer (207) the U.S., French, British, Italian and Turkish governments have been seeking for years; black-market mercenary (232) 4. One Way Out
1. Hide In Plain Sight
2. Tough Enough
3. Her Last Chance

Locations, Organizations Found In "One Way Out"
Location / Organization Description
Accord Airfieldshadiest Vermont airfield; possible location where Trixie to be delivered (247)
Branstonunincorporated village outside Bosler: Mae's home (227)
Bushman's Cornermechanic gave Alex, Cassie a ride to Bushman's Corner after their escape (251)
Como Bluff dinosaur rich area (2)
Dip BarCassie asked Alex to meet her at Dip Bar where her ex was picking up Travis (10)
Curt Gowdy State Parkwhere kidnappers took Alex and Cassie (211)
Hell Creek Fossil CompanyCassie's commercial archaeological company (102)
Hell Creek labCassie's glorified work shed (13)
Hell Creek Rock Shophoused in log shed; built by first Parker in 1910; modernized and expanded as business grew; possessed a quaint charm (40)
Heller AirfieldVermont airfield; possible location where Trixie to be delivered (247)
LaramieJosh's home town (20)
Merry Woods CampgroundAlex, Cassie walked to campground; rented beat up Winnebago (258)
McMullen Airfield:Vermont airfield; possible location where Trixie to be delivered (247)
Medicine BowAlex humiliated Cassie in bar full of people eight months ago (3)
Parker Ranchranch that belonged to Cassie's family (34)
Sheridan Expeditionswilderness tour outfit (268) << this is the tie to Avalon >>
Society of Vertebrate Paleontologymembers will be out to discredit Cassie for her t-rex find (54)
Thermopolisarea where Cassie found intact infant rex (10)
Trixie[The Find] Travis named the Tyrannosaurus Rex Dinosaur "Trixie" "T" "rex"
Weinstein AirfieldVermont airfield; possible location where Trixie to be delivered (247)

"One Way Out" Quotations
172 he'd never considered her side of things, or how his frequent dismissive comments would've affected her.   He'd figured he was in the right, she was in the wrong, and only the strong survived. (Alex)

"Michele Albert -- One Way Out" Review and Information Links
Rated Posted Site Notes, Comments, Etc.
---- Michele Albert's WebsiteAuthor (Michele Albert is Michelle Jerott's pseudonym)
---- Michele Albert's FacebookAuthor (Michele Albert is Michelle Jerott's pseudonym)
---- Michele Albert's Wikipediamini biography
. . . . . .. . .. . .
B- / warm02-23-2005All About Romance--Lori Sowell // okay
4.00 average{12 reviews}Amazonas of: March 26, 2013
5.00 average{2 reviews}Barnes & Nobleas of: March 26, 2013
9 / 10 / 912-03-2004Contemporary Romance Writers--MizSavannah // liked
positive02-15-2005Fresh Fiction"Witty Story Has Intrigue and Danger"
3.53 average{55 ratings}Good Readsas of: March 26, 2013
----Fantastic FictionList of Michelle Jerott's Books
----Fantastic FictionList of Michele Albert's Books
----Fict FactList of Books In "The Avalon Investigations Series"
----Fiction DBList of Michelle Jerott's Books
----Fiction DBList of Michele Albert's Books
3.62 average{13 ratings}Library Thingas of: March 26, 2013
93xx-xx-2005Mrs. Gigglesmostly excellent
3.70 average{33 ratings}Paperback Swapas of: March 26, 2013
4.0003-xx-2005RT {Romantic Times} Book Reviews--Jill M. Smith // PR review
4.00 average{6 reviews}Shelfarias of: March 26, 2013
4.0004-03-2005The Romance Reader--Terry Lawrence // liked
3.9503-26-2013Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

♥   Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥   Very Subjective Rating
♣   Will add your One Way Out review link to table, just ask

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