I thought this was a suspense novel because the cover has you know . . . gun, badge and FBI agent but according to the marketing on the back of the CD box, this is contemporary. Yes, I picked up the CDs from the library.
This was my first time reading a suspense ( or contemporary romance with suspense elements) and the plotting felt was so strange to me, and I’m trying to figure out if this is the status quo.
First the big plot. A young doctor named Ellie witnesses the Landrys, a criminal couple, shoot an FBI agent. The Landrys are known for killing witnesses which puts Ellie in danger. . . but also she has a dangerous stalker she’s been hiding from since she was 11 . . . and also she is on her way to a wedding in her small southern town . . . and-but-also her younger sister is looking for her missing lover. . . Oh, but also Ellie s a prodigy and gifted surgeon so she spends half the book diagnosing people and dolling out convenient medical advice because that’s what surgeon’s do . . .
I mean look I haven’t gone to medical school but are surgeons really trained to give perfect pregnancy advice (via text message) and diagnose cancerous moles? Isn’t that more of an internist thing? I digress. All of the major plots get wrapped up pretty easily in this book . There is a lot of telling not showing. I guess I was expecting more intrigue and investigating but I guess that’s why it’s billed as contemporary.
So there was this plot (if you can call it a plot it’s more like 2 chapters and a conclusion) about Ellie’s sister that I thought was setting up for another book. . . the sister is a new lawyer looking for a Navy Seal she hit it off with. That could have been a whole book, but nope that gets resolved in one fell swoop and wrapped up with a tiny bow. It was sooo awkward. It came in and out of nowhere.
I hate to be harsh on a female character but holey moley was Ellie just too perfect, I felt like everyone was singing her praises. Three times in this book the hero stands next to her beaming while some other male character, who thinks Ellie is just the best, tells a story about Ellie’s past and how awesomesauce she is. Ellie (is of course) humble. It just felt clunky the third time around and like a way to give background info. I mean I started to worry when I began siding with Ellie’s bridezilla sister who feels like Ellie ruins everything with her stalker and what not.
Also some of the dialogue was really dull and uninteresting. I swear there is this intense back and forth about a thermostat and heater or something that I just totally zoned out of. I mean I legit thought it was going to lead to something. I even side-eyed during a scene in the book where Ellie checks her phone and tells the hero the weather even though it was nothing to really do with anything.
One interesting fact, Max’s brother is a professional football player who is black. We learn that Max was adopted by a Black family in a sort of a reverse Blindside situation (in Montana of all places), and I wanted to know more about that. It sounded like a Chris Crutcher novel in the making (no one probably gets that) I had a feeling this book wasn’t going to touch that subject but still.
At the end of the day this was more of a coming-home contemporary with a badge and gun dude on the side, It felt like this was three different novels being thrown together and boring dialogue added to make word count.
I know Julie Garwood is a celebrated romance writer and I feel like I might have just picked up the wrong book. I may give her historicals a try.
My first suspense-ish novel left a bad taste in my mouth. I need help. Please send recs