Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quick Looks at Some New Books

Positive I.D.
By Kathleen Long
Romantic Suspense
The premise:
This is the first of a new series called The Body Hunters from Harlequin Intrigue. The Body Hunters are a group of private citizens with great investigative skills who work together to find missing persons when law enforcement either gets no results or gives up. In this installment, Will Connor, one of the founders of the firm, goes back into the field to try to find his missing daughter Jordan. The tricky part of the equation is that both Jordan and Will’s wife Maggie believe that he died seventeen years previously in an explosion. One of the criminals Will helped bring down had threatened to kill both his wife and his infant daughter, so Will faked his own death to save them. Now his old nemesis appears to have figured out that Will is still among the living, and so he used Jordan and Maggie to lure him out of hiding. Now Will not only has to save his daughter but win back the wife who feels he abandoned her all those years ago, and whom he has never stopped loving.

What I liked:
I thought nearly all of the characters were well drawn, which is no mean feat within the length constraints of a category romance. Even the secondary characters were pretty vivid. I liked the missing person angle as well, particularly the Body Hunters desire to follow a trail, no matter how cold it might be, in order to help the families of the missing find some kind of closure. The suspense element and the love story were pretty well balanced and worked well together, and the pace was good.

What I didn’t like:
Will’s back story and that of the Body Hunters in general, didn’t really hang together for me all that well. Maybe I am being too nitpicky, but how is it that a couple of guys with no training – either law enforcement, military or P.I. – managed to put together this crack team of investigators? Also, if the goal is to find missing persons, how did Will end up breaking up a heroin ring and earning the enmity of the guy who threatened to kill his family? If these details were explained, I missed them. The villain was also fairly easy to peg early on, and was a little less meaty than I would have liked. Again, length constraints probably contributed to this. I also felt that Maggie gave in and forgave Will for his deception rather quickly. One brisk slap in the face and some tears wouldn’t really work for me for a faked death and the accompanying sense of abandonment – I think I might require some thrown crockery and a lot of screaming. But then, I might just be a grudge holder....

I think this is an enjoyable, quick read, great for a lazy afternoon. I would read other titles by this author.

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