Thursday, 26 February 2015

Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood

Heartbreaker (2000) (Pocket Star Books)
Julie Garwood
Grade: B
Genre: romantic suspense
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own 
Buchanan/FBI: (1) Heartbreaker 
Romance RBC 2015: A romantic suspense

The last thing that Father Tommy Madden expects to hear from the other side of the confessional box is a twisted maniac bragging about the women he’s killed and the lucky woman who’s next on his list – Laurant, Tommy’s younger sister. When the self-named ‘Heartbreaker’ drops off clues with the police, Tommy is no longer morally torn at the prospect of divulging confidential information and calls his childhood best friend, Nick Buchanan, for help. Nick is only too happy to use his forced holiday to be productive and shadow Laurant. Miraculously, they’ve never met despite Nick’s lifelong friendship with Tommy and Nick is astounded that the skinny girl he remembers from photographs has blossomed into the woman standing before him. What Nick really doesn’t expect is for Laurant to be so stubborn about carrying on her life as normal in an effort to trap Heartbreaker. When the pair return to Laurant’s house in the tiny town of Holy Oaks, their close quarters reveal a fiery attraction that shows no signs of extinguishing …

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Heartbreaker, book 1 in the 13-strong-and-counting Buchanan/FBI series. Julie Garwood’s profile on AAR indicates that Heartbreaker is the strongest of the lot, with each book in the series progressively getting lower reviews. To be honest, that’s pretty standard in series that are this long and I can definitely attest to this across authors and genres. This isn’t a series that needs to be read in order and over the years, I’ve read books 6, 10 and 12 (Shadow Dance, Sweet Talk and Fast Track) and haven’t been greatly impressed. While I definitely liked Heartbreaker more, I’m struggling to see why I didn’t like it as much as expected. Heartbreaker is fast-paced, full of alpha males, a take-no-nonsense independent heroine and a blood-curdling killer, but I was still left looking for more. A novel experience given that theoretically, Julie Garwood usually ticks all my boxes.

Heartbreaker has a sick fascination with Laurant and has gone to considerable lengths to find out everything about her. The FBI believe that the best way to force Heartbreaker’s hand is to fake a relationship between Laurant and Nick, inciting his jealousy. The pair move into Laurant’s house together in the tiny town of Holy Oaks and try to pass off their story of love at first sight. Frustratingly, Laurant and Nick manage to keep their hands off each other for a considerable length of time. Nick is plagued with guilt about the fact that he’s lusting after his best friend’s little sister. Living in such close proximity certainly doesn’t alleviate his pain but it certainly provokes Heartbreaker into action. The story is a little slow at times and the chapters are peppered with scenes in Heartbreaker’s point of view, a device I’m not crazy about. I do love Julie Garwood’s depiction of small town America and the colourful personalities that have quickly become attached to Laurant’s kindness and goodness. Nick is similarly attracted to her and their chemistry is fantastic.

I do much prefer Julie Garwood’s medieval and historicals, but I’ll concede that Heartbreaker has been the best of the contemporaries that I’ve read so far. I’m sorely tempted by the preview I’ve read of book two in this series, Mercy, featuring Nick’s brother Theo, a lawyer. In Heartbreaker, I was fascinated by Noah Clayborne: ultimate alpha male, one of Nick’s contemporaries and Tommy’s bodyguard for the duration of this nightmare. I’m a little distraught to discover that I’ve already read his story: Shadow Dance, book 6 of this series. From the very very little that I remember (clearly an indication that the book wasn’t memorable), I didn’t like this book. He’s one of those characters who has to wait to get his happy ending, but the wait is usually worth it. It’s massively annoying when it’s not, but given the number of disappointing books I’ve already encountered in 2015, I’m over it. I have high hopes if I ever get round to Mercy, but it’s not the end of the world.

Image courtesy of Book Depository.

No comments:

Post a Comment