Tag Archives: suspense

For the Love of Pete

Harper, Julia. For the Love of Pete (2009). 400 Pages. Forever. $6.99

“Things finally came to a head between Zoey Addler and Lips of Sin the afternoon he tried to steal her parking space.” With another solid first-line, Julia Harper drags us back into the world of FBI chases and romance. Some of you may remember Dante Torelli from Hot. It’s alright if you don’t though, because this book really stands alone. The references to Hot are there, but they are not key to the story.

Anyway, when the child of a key witness is kidnapped, Special Agent Dante Torelli (a.k.a. Lips of Sin) must find Pete (Zoey’s infant niece) in time for her father to testify on Monday. Of course, as difficult as finding a kidnapped baby in Chicago might have been, that’s not all that’s going on here. Pete is kidnapped from her kidnapper in a robbery-gone-wrong. Dante is framed for murder, and most everyone believes he’s a dirty cop. Zoey refuses to trust him, and will not just go home, or at least anywhere safe. Bullets fly, chases ensue, cat and mouse repeats itself.

Meanwhile, as with Hot, we get other points-of-view. Chapters may focus on Dante, Zoey, Mrs. Gupta & Mrs. Gupta, Neil Senior, and the “Senior FBI Agent”, to name a few. It could get a little confusing, but since it’s in third-person limited, the story stays reasonably clear. As with Hot, I feel that the bad-guy chapters can be a little too much sometimes, even if they are pretty funny (especially those which dealt with the Mrs. Guptas.) The story unfolds in an unexpected way, and the bad guys are defeated in some very surprising ways.

If you are surprised by romance novels featuring romance, do not read this paragraph, as it could spoil the book. If you are not surprised, hilight the text to read “spoilers”. Eventually the romance plot becomes primary; Dante is head over heels for Zoey. There are a few kisses which are badly handled; they act like the second kiss is the first, which it is not. They are equally as shocked by the third. By the time they’re truly involved with each other, you’re rolling your eyes and telling them to get it over with already.</ “spoiler”>

The Quick Version:

With a fun plot, an entertaining cat-and-mouse game, and a brief appearance by Mac, this book is nearly as entertaining as Hot. It does, unfortunately, fall a little short, and has a bit too much of the “uptight, structured man falls for free spirited hippie chick” which is not my favorite plot. It scores a solid 3.5 out of 5. I enjoyed it, but I won’t be re-reading it any time soon.

If you’re still interested, you can get it through Amazon or Swaptree.

Leave a comment

Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, Chick-Lit, Contemporary Romance, Humor, Mystery & Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Romance

Hot

Harper, Julia*. Hot (2008). 380 Pages. Grand Central. $6.99

Have you ever made the mistake of starting a brand new book right before bed, only to realize as you close the book that you’ve been reading all night, and the sun is rising? Harper’s book grabs you from the first line. “In Turner Hastings’ opinion, the bank robbery didn’t go truly bad until Yoda shot out the skylight.” From the dramatic first line until you close the book, you’ll be hooked.

When Special Agent John MacKinnon gets called in to investigate a bank robbery in small-town Winosha, Wisconsin, he expects an open-and-shut case. It isn’t until he stumbles across footage of  bank-teller and local librarian Turner Hastings ripping off her boss’s safety deposit box and smirking at the camera that he realizes there is more going on than meets the eye. He finds himself intrigued by the woman, and growing more enthralled by her with each passing day.

Having secured the contents of the bank president’s safety deposit box and fled, Turner begins the cat-and-mouse game which is the backbone of the story. She is not an experienced criminal though, so when her phone rings, she answers it and finds herself talking to MacKinnon. At first, he is professional, trying to capture his quarry by convincing her to come in, but slowly their conversations become more personal. He teases Turner’s story out of her; she’s seeking revenge for the framing of her late Uncle Rusty, and needs evidence to prove her case.

When a hit-man is hired to get rid of Turner, MacKinnon finds himself wanting to protect her more than he wants to arrest her, which makes the whole situation more difficult for him. The two grow closer and closer to each other, until the story climaxes with a few climaxes.

The writing is top-notch. I didn’t roll my eyes over stupidity (very often), or plot holes, or badly used adjectives. The mystery is more of a cat-and-mouse or keystone cops thing, maybe a bit of both combined. There are of course a few sex scenes, this is a romance, and this isn’t a prudish publisher. They’re very detailed, perhaps a little too detailed. The biggest issue is with the scenes with the escaping robbers- they’re a bit too stupid, and while they’re meant to be funny, they’re really not necessary to the story. You can skip the chapters without missing anything at all.

The characters are human; John and Turner both have their pasts, and they’ve got their futures. They develop through the book, and really learn to step outside their respective boxes. Other characters grow less, but that’s not always a bad thing. If every character is growing, the book can be overwhelming. (Anyone who’s ever read the Kushiel series knows how overwhelming too much character development can be.)

The Quick Version:

The funny parts are genuinely funny, the chase scenes enthralling, the characters actually develop and are slowly revealed. The dialog is brilliant, and as a whole, this book is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. It gets a 5 out of 5.

Want to read it? Get it on Amazon or through Swaptree.

______________________________________________

*Julia Harper is a nom de plume** for Elizabeth Hoyt.

** I think it’s silly to have multiple pen-names*** just because you’re genre-crossing. I realize that authors can feel constrained by a genre, but they should be able to branch out without using a whole new name

*** And what is the point in having multiple pseudonyms for different genres if you link to them on your authorial website? I mean, really.

If you haven’t noticed, I do enjoy footnotes. I just wish I could anchor them properly.

2 Comments

Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, Chick-Lit, Contemporary Romance, Humor, Mystery & Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Romance