I Can’t Breathe

R.L. Mankin
AuthorHouse (2012)
ISBN 9781477284025

Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views (1/13)

Article first published as Book Review: I Can’t Breathe by R.L. Mankin on Blogcritics.

There’s a decent story tucked within the pages of “I Can’t Breathe” by R.L. Mankin but the writing style makes for an extremely difficult read, and the story itself suffers from a few minor elements that don’t really fit.

The story begins with main character Renee going out with her friend, Sarah, for a night on the town. During their evening of partying, they meet Marrick and Damon, who happen to be vampires. Even though the story takes place in the real world, the guys’ pale skin immediately makes Renee figure out the true nature of the gentlemen. While I know fiction stories require some suspension of belief, there was just no way to accept Renee’s lightning-fast way of figuring how what the two men really are because it’s just not a real-world thought.

Despite the fact that Renee has figured out the two are members of the undead, the two couples are immediately smitten by what I refer to as insta-love. Renee feels an irresistible attraction to Marrick and Sarah is equally in love with Damon almost immediately. A reason for these two couples to fall madly in love with each other almost as soon as they meet is never given, but the story demands it so it happens.

Aside from those two problems, the story itself is okay; although there’s never really a sense of danger to make the reader feel concern for the characters because things just seem to happen way too smoothly, even after the powerful villain appears.

The main problem with “I Can’t Breathe” is the author’s writing style. The story is written in present-tense, which is a bit jarring because it’s so different from how other books are written. Being original can sometimes pay off, but some writing trends exist for a reason. There’s also an irritating habit of the characters always using each other’s names during conversation, which makes for a rough reading experience because people don’t really talk like that.

Finally, I believe if an author is going to include erotica within their story, they need to not be shy about it, and using a term like “personal area’ removes any possible heat that could be created by the scene because it appears the author is uncertain with how to proceed from there. There are plenty of books on the market with examples of how to handle erotic scenes without getting vulgar or graphic, and these parts of the story could’ve been made better.

With a smoother style of writing, and the addition of suspense and tension, “I Can’t Breathe” by R.L. Mankin could be a good vampire story but it’s just not there at the moment.

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