Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Challenges: NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
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Blurb from goodreads:
A thrilling, fast-paced novel of romantic suspense from sensational New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Linda Howard.
For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job. But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why. Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant. But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.
The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out. She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank. Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.
The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something. But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give. And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life.
I've read Howard off and on for years, mostly getting her books from the library. This one sounded appealing so I snatched it up but it didn't live up to my expectations. The blurb lies; the story is neither thrilling nor fastpaced (it takes place over weeks). The story was an odd blend of women's fiction, romance, a dog story, and, oh yeah, a mystery. It's supposed to be a romantic suspense but it's light on the mystery, as if Howard forgot about it until near the end of the book when she suddenly wraps things up. Blink, and you'll miss the resolution of that story line. The romance between Morgan and Bo takes up maybe a quarter to a third of the book while the dog story takes up the bulk of the book. Janine at Dear Author wrote a fantastic review of "Troublemaker" and she described the dog, Tricks, as a Mary Sue and that is a perfect description. Tricks can do anything and do it perfectly, she's gorgeous, everyone loves her, she's the best dog ever in the history of the world, blah blah blah. She's also Bo's emotional crutch and the key to Morgan's understanding of Bo.
If you removed all the dog scenes, the book would be significantly shorter. Unfortunately, Howard spends so much time on the dog that the humans get short shrift. I never really felt as if I knew or understood Morgan. Bo was a little more developed but much of that was through the lens of the dog. Morgan was something of an anachronism. He's in his late 20s or early 30s but talks and acts more like he's in his 50s and this thoughts on women are both outdated and stereotypical -
Most women were naturally more open with their emotions than men, but not her. (Digital ARC, Kindle location 2087)
He didn't know shit about decorating, but he knew women (I disagree ~ Bea) and how they liked to surround themselves with stuff. (Digital ARC, Kindle location 1427)
And we get way too much of Morgan's thoughts concerning 'girly food' *eye roll* In fact, Howard goes into laborious detail about meals, food preparation, the house, blah blah blah, ad nauseam. Snooze. There are plot holes, such as why on earth Bo is the police chief when she is supremely unqualified, the relationship between her and her stepbrother, why Morgan was sent to Bo in the first place and so on. Of course, if Morgan hadn't been deposited on Bo's doorstep, we wouldn't have a story but I really think Howard could have written a more believable way to get them together. Add in the almost non-existent mystery and the story was meh at best. I kept reading because I had to see how things worked out and who was after Morgan and why. It's not a book I'll re-read. If you want to read it, borrow it from your library or a friend.