Hey, wanna hear something crazy? I’m flying to London later today! Ariel and I are gonna hang out and watch Bob’s Burgers! I mean, do London things. Like watch Bob’s Burgers.
Beautiful Redemption: Chapter 6
Liis is busily working on fanservice the Travis Maddox case, where she comes to totally sensible, very logical conclusions.
After studying Travis’s case file, I’d spent the rest of the evening looking for ways to get him out of prison time for the fire, but using him as an asset was not just the best idea. It was the only idea. Unluckily for Travis, his brother was so good at his job that the Bureau felt adding another Maddox would only be beneficial.
I’m getting the sinking feeling that this isn’t just going to be a subplot for Beautiful Redemption, since it’s only been getting more and more important in the narrative in much the same way that it’s been making less and less sense.
Before Liis can think about this too much (to be fair, if anything deserves to be thought about a little more, it’s that “adding another Maddox would only be beneficial” bit), Sawyer shows up in her office, points out how late it is, then asks if she’d like to get dinner. Thomas Maddox shows up immediately and shoos him away. Because his Blando-senses are tingling, I guess.
Even Liis doesn’t understand why Sawyer’s in this book.
“You made me his boss. You’ve got to let him speak to me at some point.”
“I don’t see it that way.”
That argument apparently totally resolved by that, they then move onto why Liis is in the office so late on a Friday night. She makes a fairly valid point that, because of his stupid “you stood up to me, therefore you are promoted to everyone’s boss” practices, things could be better.
“Agent Davies is saying I fucked my way to the top. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get the agents to take me seriously when I walk in here and get a promotion on day one?”
“It was day two actually. And Agent Davies did fuck her way to the top – well, to her top. She won’t likely be promoted any further.”
That argument also apparently totally resolved by that – because nothing addresses “my reputation isn’t great!” like “you know whose reputation is worse?” – up next on Liis and Thomas’ subplot agenda is the Travis case. I think. They don’t really segue into it, and the conversation certainly doesn’t flow out of it as much as the book seems to think it does.
“Tell me the truth […] What is your objective? Taking Benny down or keeping Travis out of prison?”
“One is entangled with the other. […] I’d trade my life to save his. I would definitely walk away from this assignment. I’ve walked away before.”
“From the job?”
“No, and no, I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Understood,” I said. I didn’t want to talk about her either.
…how did we end up on Cami? I’m still not sure how “Tell me the truth” meant Travis either, really, but how did that segue work? How many other Maddoxverse novels’ main characters can we cram into this conversation? Not even the Marvel movies are this bad.
Liis reveals that she does have a social life after all, because Val is taking her to “the same bar from Top Gun” later. Thomas and Marx also get invited. McGuire describes a bar adorned with Top Gun memorabilia. Everyone’s happy.
Val and Marks were deep in conversation about the pros and cons for the solicitation notice of the 9mm pistols versus our standard issue Smith & Wesson.
You know the writing cliche, “write what you know”? This is why they say that.
Speaking of writing what you know, Thomas Maddox is definitely a Maddox.
Thomas was on the other side [of the bar playing darts], standing in the middle of a small herd of California girls and Beach Boy would be proud of.
Somehow I missed the absurd pop (?) culture reference the first time I read this. That’s what reading a Jamie McGuire novel is like – I stop picking up on lines like that.
Liis watches the girls “clapping and cheering every time Thomas hit a bull’s-eye” and quickly decides she’s had enough of the bar and leaves. Which, of course, is Thomas’s cue to leave as well.
“Let me drive you.”
“You look” – I leaned over to peek at his groupies through the window – “busy.”
“I’m not.” He shook his head as if I should have known better.
When he looked at me that way, I felt like the only person in the city.
But when they get back, he doesn’t follow her into the elevator.
“Are you going all the way back [to the bar]?” […]
“Nah, I’ll probably go across the street.”
“To Cutter’s Pub?”
“If I go upstairs with you right now-” he said as the doors slid closed. He didn’t get to finish.
…I’m gonna be honest. I think some of the romantic tension in this book is way better than in McGuire’s previous outings. I actually think this is kinda cute.
Feeling ridiculous, I hurried to the window at the end of the hall and watched Thomas walk across the street with his hands in his pockets. A weird sadness came over me until he paused and looked up. When his eyes met mine, a gentle smile stretched across his face. I waved at him, and he waved back and then continued on.
Which, like any good rom com, is exactly when the heel shows up.
Three loud knocks on the door made me jump […]
“Hi,” I said, blinking.
“Don’t look so letdown,” Sawyer said, brushing past me into my living room.
I wouldn’t say that Sawyer is well-written, but goddamn if Jamie McGuire isn’t going all in making the most irritating person imaginable.
He say on my couch, leaning back into the cushions and stretching hi arms out over the top. […] “I’ve been trying to speak with you all week. I live in the next building over. I was outside, smoking my e-cig”
I HAVE A NEW LEAST FAVORITE CHARACTER, Y’ALL.
Like, I can’t even choose one gif for this moment.
Sawyer finally gets a chance to talk about what he’s wanted to this whole time, and turns out – surprise! – it’s about the Travis case!
“The S.A.C. ordered Maddox to make his brother an asset. […]”
“I know this already.” […]
“Did you also know that it’s a shit idea? Abby Abernathy is the way to go.”
…yo, it’s hard to say that Sawyer is wrong, per se. Given that the reader’s perception of Travis and Abby as reliable, useful people might vary quite wildly from the book’s…
Liis argues that Abby’s no good because Travis has such an unstable temperament that if he “finds out we’ve coerced his wife, the operation will implode.”
“So, the better option is to bring him, the unstable one, on as an asset?” He said, deadpan.
SERIOUSLY, BOOK. HE’S NOT WRONG.
Sawyer realizes that he’s not having much luck getting through to Liis and instead takes note of her apartment and offers to help her unpack. Intriguingly, he immediately admits that he knows he has a reputation around the office as a womanizer.
“I’ll help you and go home. I swear. […] Although I find you extremely attractive – I won’t deny that in the real world, I’d try my damnedest to take you home from the bar – you should know that, even though I am a jerk and a man-whore at times, I’m not stupid. I wouldn’t sleep with my boss.”
Somehow that speech results in Liis thinking this:
Kept at arm’s length, Sawyer could actually be an asset and maybe even a friend.
So even if we ignore the distinct possibility that Sawyer is nothing but repulsive to the reader (He vapes. Seriously, how is that not enough said?), Beautiful Redemption seems to be forgetting that this is a character whom Liis described as “a mangy dog” and a “joker trying to piss in my court” two chapters ago, and all he’s done since then is irritate her further. I feel like it’s a bit of a stretch about how a speech where he still mostly just objectifying her is suddenly her “aaaaand now we’re friends!” turning point.