Release Date: August 7, 2012
Buying Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble The Book Depository
Book blurb (from goodreads):
In the new contemporary romance from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood, a detective and a lawyer are falling in love— and making a federal case out of it.
When FBI agent Grayson Kincaid first encounters Olivia MacKenzie, she makes quite an impression.
The beautiful, tough, young attorney has stumbled into the middle of an FBI sting operation and has reduced it to chaos. Months of surveillance and careful planning down the drain, Kincaid’s partner is furious and lets Olivia know that she’s ticked off the wrong guy. After all, he’s FBI.
Olivia isn’t intimidated by his partner’s bullying because she’s something even scarier . . . she’s IRS.
And working for the IRS isn’t for the faint of heart. She’s on the trail of an elaborate Ponzi scheme, one that threatens to ruin the lives of naive and unsuspecting victims, and one she has personal reasons to be angry about. But after she asks questions of the wrong people, her life is suddenly endangered. She’s accustomed to fighting for the underdog but being vulnerable herself is a very different story. Smart enough to know when to call for reinforcements, she contacts Grayson Kincaid.
Together they make an excellent team to fight corruption but Olivia is also fighting the immediate and intense attraction she feels for Agent Kincaid, and that may be a battle she is bound to lose.
Reviewed By: Bea
I wanted to like this book, I've liked most of the books I've read by Garwood, but this one was a disappointment. It got off to a fast start, after the prologue (more on that in a bit) then slowed down to a crawl. It was filled with subplots, most of which were unnecessary and one was utterly predictable; it was drawn out and could easily have been been cut by one fourth to one third. There were things brought up that were then dropped; for instance, in the prologue, we meet Olivia as a young teen when she's hospitalized with what we're led to believe, but never told, is cancer. She meets other girls who become her best friends, one of whom has the aforementioned predictable subplot. It was obvious from the beginning what was going and who was to blame. It wasn't obvious why it was there in the book at all; I do wonder if we might not see one or more of the other girls get a book of their own. Garwood also does a lot of telling, not showing in this book; I don't recall her doing that in previous books.
A friend of mine and I were talking about the book on facebook and she had this to say, among other things:
So much telling and so little showing. The illnesses could've been played up more. It's like it was vital in the beginning, but then totally disappeared only to show up again at the end. And it was never clear what type of illness it was. And why did only the heroine's blood help? And not anyone else's? That was a dropped plot point.
And speaking of illnesses, I'm going to get cranky and nitpicky so feel free to skip this paragraph. So, as an adult, Olivia has asthma, a common illness and one which I have. That's probably why I'm so cranky, because, hey, I actually know about the topic! Garwood seemingly does not. How hard would it have been to do some research? Odds are good she knows someone with asthma, she could have asked for their help; she could have gone to any of the numerous websites about asthma, including the American Lung Foundation. Hey, why didn't her copy editor or fact checker do that? There is no excuse for the inaccuracies. For example, Olivia frequently uses her rescue inhaler but there's no mention of any maintenance meds or treatment plan; you can not control asthma if all you do is use a rescue med when you have trouble breathing. If her asthma is as bad as Garwood portrays, then her doctor would have her on a treatment plan. Also,how does Kincaid get his hands on one of her rescue inhalers? He tells her that he now carries one of hers at all times because she forgets (Oh so stupid but I know peeps who do this; I don't get it) but those are prescription so how did he get it? We're told that she didn't even know he had it so she didn't give it to him. And so on. I did like that a main character had a health problem that wasn't actually vital to the plot; many books don't do that which isn't realistic. People have health issues, whether it's high blood pressure, asthma or cancer. But the portrayal was inaccurate and Garwodd couldn't seem to decide if the asthma should be important to the story or not. It was another inconsistent plot point. /end rant.
And speaking of illnesses, Garwood makes a big deal out of Olivia's reluctance to be in a serious relationship due to her childhood illness and her belief that it may return. Now, with some illnesses, a return could be a legitimate concern, but since Garwood chose to be stingy with details about the illness we don't know if it's a legitimate concern. Now, I don't mean that someone couldn't have that fear, regardless of the likelihood of a recurrence; fear is not always rational. BUT, it never felt like a real fear on Olivia's part but something the author manufactured as an excuse to keep the lovers apart.
On that note, the romance felt weak; there was no passion, no depth and it happened very quickly. Plus this makes the second book recently I've read where an FBI agent disregarded procedure to get involved with a woman who was either a victim or a suspect. Hello! Not appropriate. I've read some books where that happened but the author made the romance believable and I could buy into it, despite it's inappropriateness.
There's also a subplot involving the reaction of Olivia's family to her childhood illness that continues into her adulthood and it didn't feel believable either, but manufactured solely to make certain events happen. I know that some people view illness as a weakness but this was over the top and all too convenient for the story's purposes.
Overall, this book was, as my friend said, and I agree, "a hot mess".
I received a hardcover from the publisher for review.