Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kill and Tell by Linda Howard ****

This is a really good suspense/thriller with romance! And I love the conceit of having the bad guy be a high-powered senator on his way to the White House! That isn't really a spoiler, by the way, because they reveal it pretty early. It did take me a while to catch on to his motive for being the bad guy, though, so that was good. I just get a giggle out of thinking of a guy like that, being soooo bad and yet having this oh-so-good public persona, going down (it is romance, so there will be a HEA!).

Howard does write great alpha heroes, and Marc is one of those - a New Orleans homicide detective (pre-Katrina) called to investigate the death of a homeless guy. Except something about the homeless guy gets him to thinking it wasn't just a case of a guy living on the streets - this guy was healthy, in good shape, and his "dirty homeless guy" look seemed to be more in the way of undercover makeup.

When he locates the guy's only relative, his adult daughter Karen, Marc is upset with a woman who would let her father live like this, until he gets to know her and finds out the truth - her father left her and her mother when she was a child, after returning from his stint as a sniper in Vietnam, apparently the victim of PTSD. He contacted the mother from time to time, and she never divorced him and apparently continued to love him until her own death just a few months before.

The guy is killed by a professional who is then - immediately - killed. Considering both of them, homeless guy and professional, were so incredibly good at what they did, I wonder how they found anyone better who could track them both down and kill them? But, moot point, they did. But the little black book that homeless guy theoretically had was nowhere to be found - could it have been in the package he mailed to his wife and daughter a few months before?

Karen went to New Orleans to identify the body, and in spite of his initial reaction of dislike, Marc was drawn to her. In fact, it was the thunderbolt of love for both of them, although he recognized it first - she was still in shock over her father's death, after all. It took Marc a few days of what he considered "courting" to get her to trust him, so they could have one night of blistering monkey sex before she ran home. But when she is almost killed 2 times in 2 days, it occurs to her that these are not coincidental - father's death and 2 attempt on her own life - and she runs back to Marc.

In addition to the main characters of Marc and Karen and the senator, there were some interesting secondary/supporting roles - Antonio, Marc's colleague that he is mentoring; John Medina, the undercover operative whose father was The Professional who killed Karen's father; McPherson, the CIA guy; Raymond, the Senator's, uh, butler? or something - more like a Closer I guess.

So I liked the suspense part, maybe even better than the romance part (which was still good, if slightly over the top) - and this is the first in a Series so it fits my Serial Readers Challenge as well as the A To Z Challenge!

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