by Christie RidgwaySeptember, 2008
Brockmann's latest spells trouble
Into the Fire is the 13th installment in Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooter series. As always, Brockmann tells a multilayered tale that includes emotion, romance, action and pulse-pounding suspense. But this book has a deeper, darker edge, as the principal characters take time to reflect on and deal with the death of Troubleshooter Vinh Murphy's wife, Angelina. Even as they delve into their emotions, another search is under way. The neo-Nazi they consider morally responsible for Angelina's killing has been murdered. Vinh is a likely suspect—and missing. The action follows the Troubleshooters, a helpful SEAL team and Vinh himself, as he and his best friend Hannah Whitfield work to uncover the mystery of the neo-Nazi's death. As the story resolves, so does more than one relationship. Readers will root for new and old romances and worry about what the future holds for other characters—a trademark of Brockmann's that increases fan anticipation for the next book.
Touching and terrific
Real history and poignant romance intertwine in Julia London's latest Regency-era historical, The Book of Scandal. The Earl of Lindsey, Nathan Grey, learns from a friend that his estranged wife Evelyn is embroiled in a dangerous situation involving the royal family. To protect her and his good name, Nathan forces his reluctant wife to leave London and return to their country estate—a place that holds very sad memories for Evelyn. She's desperate not to face the grief that awaits her there due to the death of their young son three years earlier. Nathan gives her no choice, and what follows is a heart-wrenching story of two people coming to grips with their loss and their need for each other. Complicating the couple's healing is a threat revolving around the historically true marital woes of the Prince and Princess of Wales. But first and foremost, The Book of Scandal is a moving romance about deep grief and the ways in which a marriage can grow and mature along with the people in it.
Smooth and smart
Describing Tara Janzen's contemporary romance, Loose and Easy, as "fast-paced" is a huge understatement. This latest entry in her Steele Street series drives at sonic speed and has a super-sexy rumble under its hood, um, cover. Johnny Ramos has returned to Denver from a rigorous stint in the military and is hoping to win a place in the elite, Denver-based Special Defense Force. While waiting for the official orders to come through, he's on leave and in his hometown of the Mile-High City, where he runs across the good girl who got away, Esme Alden. They have an unfinished history—within the steamed-up windows of a hot muscle car—and so Johnny doesn't hesitate to insert himself into private investigator Esme's current troublesome case. There's action, chases, kisses, sex, suspense, all told in Janzen's trademark breathless and buoyant style. This one-sitting read offers glimpses of old friends, introduces new ones, and includes intriguing threats that promise future, equally exciting stories.
Fun and fabulous
Elizabeth Boyle's Tempted by the Night is a paranormal historical with a delightful heroine and a delightful premise. In order to prove that the object of her affections, the Earl of Rockhurst, is not the notorious rake the world believes him to be, Lady Hermione Marlowe wishes to be invisible from sunset to sunrise so that she can learn his secrets . . . and he hers. In this case, wishes do come true, as Hermione has found a magic ring that grants her heart's desire. But her nocturnal spying doesn't reveal Rockhurst home reading books every night. Instead, he's the "Paratus" who spends the dark hours fending off otherworldly evil. Now Rockhurst has a new addition to his evenings: his "Shadow," as he calls the invisible Hermione, and it's delicious to watch them grow intimate even as he can only know her through his touch. This romance pairs exciting action, sweet seduction and the pledge of more magic to come.