Title: Blue-Eyed Devil
Authors: Lisa Kleypas, Robert B. Parker
Publishers: St. Martin's Press (2008), G.P. Putnam's Sons (2010)
Since I chose these books due to their titles I'll say a few words about the covers:
Kleypas - nice but innacurate. dude is sexy and since the title centers around our sexy hero there ought to be a sexy dude on the cover. however, this book is set almost exclusively in Houston and Dallas. i've spent lots of time in Houston and some in Dallas. this road does not exist. hell, it probably doesn't even exist on the outskirts of Houston. regardless, it certainly does not put one in mind of the book's setting.
Parker - nice cover. i'm immediately put in a western mindframe. excellent use of the sillohoute. i especially like how one dude is clearly facing forward and the other is looking at facing-forward guy. FFG is easy to see as Virgil. The other would be Everett, the reader's window into the story. it's completely appropriate that he's looking at Virgil as he often does in the story. and not just looking at but looking to Virgil.
The most eye-catching portion of the covers is the author's name. Both of these authors have a body of successful work to their names and the covers rely as much (or more) on the author's name to sell the book as on the cover art.
Verdict: Point to Parker
Kleypas - Haven comes from an affluent and controlling family. When she decides to go against their wishes and marry the man of her dreams things don't turn out quite like she anticipated. She's trying to put her life back together and isn't so sure Hardy Cates is the right way to start.
Parker - Cole and Hitch are back in Appaloosa and the new police chief isn't necessarily happy that the former keepers of the law are back. Cole and Hitch are happy to stick to themselves but when the chief of police starts employing some shady tactics they feel compelled to get involved.
Place in their respective worlds:
Kleypas is a stand alone but characters from Sugar Daddy featured (and I, for one, am glad as I definitely wanted to know what happened to Hardy after SD)
Parker is the fourth book in the Cole/Hitch series but the first one I've read (and, actually, only the second Parker novel I've read - talked about the other here)
Verdict: Point to Kleypas (but only because I'm going through an anti-series phase)
They are both told in first person perspective.
They both feature violence; though one is violence used for unethical control and one is violence used for order (albeit, self-determined order).
The styles featured here could not be more different. Kleypas is told heavily as a "and then this happened" recounting from Haven. There are even segments where the reader is taken step by step through her thinking process as she recovers from the trauma of her first marriage. The motivations and feelings of each character are clear with very little room for interpretation.
Parker's style, on the other hand, makes spare seem like an over-statement. As a reader who enjoys an author who will put the story in my hands, I liked this a lot. I found myself reading passages (especially conversations) over and over with different interpretations. It made me pay attention to even the smallest of details as possible clues as to why characters did what they did. The book is pretty short anyway, but with such stingy writing there was no way my usual skimming would come into play. I had to use each word to paint the pictures and I liked that. I wish I had that experience more often.
Verdict: Point to Parker
From the description above of the writing styles you can probably guess a little about the characterization. It was certainly more thorough in Kleypas (if not exactly subtle) but with Parker you have to go deeper to find the characters. Again, I like that! When I finished Kleypas I didn't need to read any more about Haven and Hardy (oh! I just noticed that! hmmm) but there is still much to learn about Cole and Hitch which might get me to actually seek out other books in the series.
Both books are straightforward tales of significant events in the characters' lives. Neither story reached me on a level beyond "heh, that's entertaining" so I'd say that each story is mostly targeted to those readers already interested in the set-up.
What I Liked:
In Kleypas I liked that the reality of, and recovery after, domestic violence was a part of the story. I feel that it could be helpful to those that find themselves in an abusive situation and can't quite see their way clear.
In Parker I liked the spare writing that left much of the story in the reader's hands. That puts it in the category of books I'm not editing while I read. I wish more books were like this.
What I Didn't Like:
In Kleypas it's not really clear why Hardy is interested in Haven. I mean, I know she's cool because I'm hanging out in her perspective but why did Hardy think she was cool?
In Parker I didn't like the limited view of Allie. I spent a lot of time reviewing interactions with Allie and I just couldn't figure what she was bringing to the table.
At the end of the day each book got me thinking but neither stayed with me after I was done. I enjoyed the novelty of such different books having the same title but that's about all I'm taking away.
Kleypas: 3 of 5 stars
Parker: 3 of 5 stars