Tracy Cozzens

Imajinn Books / 306 pages / (June 1, 2001)

ISBN: 1893896536

Sometimes you pick up a book, read the cover, and dread plowing through it. And, sometimes your first impression is completely wrong. I’ll admit it; I wasn’t looking forward to One Perfect Mate. So, why was I riveted to it after the first few chapters?

Here’s the skinny: Mariss Sakari, violet-eyed botanist, is through with love, at least, any love she “falls” into. A two-time loser, she is determined not to trust her own judgement again; she will let computers and science choose her life-partner. True, she has never met the man, but if he is her one perfect mate, she is willing to leave Earth behind and journey into deep space to be with him. After all, he is perfect and he lives in the perfect colony on Elysia.

Too bad she didn’t figure in Kade Land — her pilot and her tormentor for the ten-day trip. Kade doesn’t believe in romance by RAM; he believes in love at first sight. He’s going to have about as much luck with Mariss as he does with outrunning his past. And both are just about to collide and blast them out of the sky.

Some of the interaction on board is a tad predictable, but it does set the scene.

The story really hits its stride when the two crash on Elysia and set out to trek to the colony. Forget the enormous distance and unfamiliar terrain; they’ll be lucky if they get past the Interstellar Police and the native flora and fauna. And these critters are some of the more interesting creations of recent times. The wilderness of Elysia is beautiful and fraught with danger.

Cozzens has taken an old love theme and run it through her own machinery to produce something new and intriguing. She turns out an irresistible plot — complete with fascinating characters, a wholly new setting, an ear for dialogue, and a pace that keeps you moving at a brisk clip. Oh! And there’s plenty of action and heat, too.

No, I’m not going to give the plot away, but let me just say that if you think the story is over when/if they make it to the colony, you’re very much mistaken. Really, is any place perfect? You’ve seen too many Twilight Zones to believe that. (Of course, that doesn’t stop the sale of timeshares, does it?)

Any time you take two wounded people — a strong, reckless hero and a stubborn, overly-cautious heroine — and throw them together in a dangerous situation… POW! Things are going to happen. You’ll want to be there to see it.

See it? That’s another thing: here’s a book just begging to be made into a film. Although, I think that the screen images couldn’t compete with the mental pictures.