The lengths members of a not-rich family might go in order to improve their lot is always an intriguing, relevant theme, as is the question of whether someone who lies for a living can ever be trusted. PERFECT. by D.D. Larsen dives into these subjects, albeit not with any depth. On a rare night out, high school senior Seryna is rescued from sex that she does not want to have in a classmate’s truck by a mysterious stranger whom she immediately feels is her soulmate. None of her friends know who she’s talking about, but at a subsequent party, up in a bedroom being groped by another classmate she is not interested in (now that her imagination’s been captured by the mystery man), the stranger appears to the rescue again. Turns out his name is Kieran and he’s an FBI agent in the midst of an undercover operation, which he soon tells Seryna about, because he too has fallen for her at first sight and doesn’t want lies between them.
These are just some of the many implausible problems with the tale. It is unlikely any undercover agent worth their salt would so quickly divulge confidential information about an investigation-in-progress to anyone he’s just begun dating, nor would that agent’s superiors be likely to keep him involved on a case surrounding a family’s possible illegal activities if the agent was suddenly in love with the family’s daughter. It isn’t very believable that this newly blossoming love could be kept hidden from Kieran’s peers or superiors with her family under FBI surveillance (never mind kept from her parents in a small town) what with the two of them out and about, having sex in local bar bathrooms and such. Intelligence agents are factually known to romance and even sometimes marry ordinary civilians as part of undercover operations, so had this idea been more genuinely explored, it could have been captivating (whether or not that, in the end, proved to be Kieran’s motive).
The story also unfortunately exploits an overabundance of clichés. The agent is handsome, rich, and enjoys nothing more than providing pretty young Seryna with a car and a credit card, and for her part of the equation, Seryna is of course a virgin with practically no prior sexual experience, yet so into Kieran she’s immediately willing to explore whatever aspects of BDSM he’s interested in. Readers are introduced to 18-year-old Seryna as a college-bound prude who rarely parties because she is driven to escape small town life, therefore it doesn’t ring true that she is immediately drunk and in one compromising situation after another as the story opens.
There’s also the matter of the small town she’s supposedly desperate to escape from. In early chapters, due to haltingly simple sentence construction and the unusual names of some characters, it seems as if the locale Seryna is eager to leave behind might be a backwoods village in a foreign country, and this could perhaps make her startling innocence somewhat more believable. But really she’ll soon be attending college in Boulder, Colorado, only 30 minutes from her childhood home. Repetitive in big and small ways, from phrases duplicated verbatim throughout (often within the same paragraph) to plot points such as more than one friend waking from unconsciousness in the hospital as Seryna is beside them recalling cherished memories, the book’s potential is obscured by significant structural flaws. Further research-enhanced revision would be useful.
Finding your one and only is the premise of PERFECT. by D.D. Larsen, an oddly syncopated novel awash with sexy stereotypes and improbable situations.
~C.S. Holmes for IndieReader