I've been reading Karen Robards since not long after I started reading romance. She has some really great romantic suspense books, butRating: 2.5 / 5
I've been reading Karen Robards since not long after I started reading romance. She has some really great romantic suspense books, but unfortunately, her last few books have been subpar, in my opinion. And honestly, I considered this book her last chance at keeping me reading her new releases. Did she win me back? Probably not.
Summary: After lawyer Lisa Grant loses her job when the firm she works for goes belly-up, she decides to return to her hometown of Lexington, Kentucky and help take car of her mother, who is in the last stages of ALS. Lisa takes a job as a researcher for DA Scott Buchanan. She and Scott have known each other for years, ever since he was the trashy son of a drunk who worked on her parents farm. Now he's a stud lawyer...with a grumbly attitude.
Lisa gets on his bad side and gets banished to look through old cold cases. Which is where she discovers the Garcia file - a young family disappears without a trace during the 1980's. But what's strange is that Lisa looks almost exactly like the mother in the photo. Lisa can't let it go and looks into the case. Bad things start to happen...a fire, an assault, a car accident. And through it, Scott becomes someone Lisa can lean on as she searches for the truth.
Review: I was really hoping this book would be more like Robards's older romantic suspenses with a dynamic suspense plot and a great romance. It wasn't, unfortunately. I won't say that the book was bad in anyway. I didn't hate it, didn't have much trouble reading it. But it wasn't all that good either, didn't engage me anywhere near like what her older books did. Disappointing.
The suspense plot in the book is rather low intensity. It seems like it's going to be a really great story...missing family from years ago, a woman who looks like them, and other bits and pieces. I had high hopes it would be a great plot. But it never really pulled itself together. The story meanders at a near crawling pace that never really seems to get anywhere.
As the book starts, you get the basic situation and you expect a lot of investigating, fact-finding, discovery...all of it helping to put a puzzle together. But really, as the book moves on, you get very few facts added in. A doll, some near death situations, a couple other little tidbits, and that's it. Then all the sudden you get to the end and get blasted with pages and pages of narrative and dialogue explaining all that had happened. I mean, literally, it's a character sitting there and explaining like 20 years of events for five pages. Some of the explanation seemed to come out of nowhere, with no prior info leading up to it. Which altogether showed me a distinct lack of development throughout the book if that much had to be explained at the end. Plus, there aren't really any good clues to the bad guys' identity. That was annoying.
Also, maybe it's just me, but something seemed off about the fact that you have Lisa, a rising star lawyer at a good Boston law firm getting stuck working a job as a researcher. I mean, come on, are you really telling me that no where in the Lexington area she couldn't find work as a lawyer?
On the romance front...eh, it was okay. Very, very very slow building. For the first 250 pages of the book (its 388 pages long), Lisa is dating someone else, and Lisa and Scott just admire each other from a distance. Kinda dull. Then suddenly they fall into bed and then are practically glued to each others sides. I liked these two characters, and the romance had a sweet edge to it as the book progressed, but something was missing. I didn't feel very connected to these characters.
Another thing I found rather annoying was how the author would randomly toss out ten-dollar words in spots that seemed ill-fitting. Some of the words I didn't even know the meanings of. I consider myself to have a decent vocabulary and when I'm reading fiction for fun, I don't want to have to drag out a dictionary.
That wasn't the only writing issue, either. All throughout the book, there are these sentences that go on and on and on. There'd be sentences with multiple commas, hyphens, parentheses and all this info coming at you so that by the end of the sentence you'd completely forget the initial point. I'd have to stop, reread the first clause of the sentence, then read the rest slowly to get what the author was trying to say. Which, needless to say, is ridiculously annoying and distracting. There were also these long chunks of narrative that didn't help either. I wanted action and dialogue and more often than not got these massive page-long paragraphs of pointless narrative. There'd be like two pages of narrative describing a room. So boring.
So what's the bottomline on this book? It's not bad, really. I think there are plenty of people who would read it and like it. It just didn't do it for me. I think I'll probably end up passing on whatever Robards's next new book might be. I'll still read the few backlist books of hers I have waiting, but the new stuff...probably not....more
This was a pretty good book. Much better than her last release, Guilty, but in my opinion, still no where near as good as her older romRating: 3.5 / 5
This was a pretty good book. Much better than her last release, Guilty, but in my opinion, still no where near as good as her older romantic suspense books.
Jessica Ford is a young lawyer for a big D.C. law firm. One night, she gets a call from her boss; he orders her to go to a hotel bar, where the First Lady of the U.S. is waiting, and accompany her to an as yet unknown location. Accustomed to doing what needs to be done for her job, Jess goes. At the hotel, she finds a distraught Annette Cooper downing shots, and none of her security detail in tow. After some trouble, she manages to get the First Lady into the waiting car and they leave.
The next thing she remembers is waking up in bunch of brush with her whole body in pain. The First Lady and everyone else in the car is dead. Jess remembers almost nothing...initially...but she knows something isn't right, that it wasn't just a car accident.. The thought seems to prove right when someone tries to kill her in the hospital. She tries to tell Secret Service agent Mark Ryan, but she's not sure she trusts him. As more people around her die, though...people who knew the First Lady...the only recourse she has is to trust Mark. Someone clearly wants her dead so that she can't talk about whatever it is they think she knows.
For me, this book was leaps and bounds better than Guilty, which I really disliked. But I didn't love this one. In all areas I'd consider it above average, but not making it to great in any sense. It wasn't a book I struggled to make it through and the story was fairly engaging. Though it did kind of remind a little of Grissom's The Pelican Brief.
But as someone who has read nearly every book by Robards, this one still doesn't compare to her older romantic suspense books. It just feels rather flat compared to those books. Books like Paradise County and Whispers at Midnight had an intensity to them, a real zing to the storylines that sucked you in that, for me, just wasn't there in Pursuit (or her other recent books like Guilty and Obsession). They come across as rather basic and formulaic.
Character wise for Pursuit...I liked Jess and Mark, but like the book itself, they were very in-the-moment. Almost all aspects of the characters are about what's going on in the current storyline. Robards tried to drop in some sideline facts about them, but honestly, they felt so out of the blue it came off weird. Each character had a "secret" about their pasts revealed about 2/3rds through the book, but they completely spring up without any warning or foreshadowing that it leaves those details feeling a bit contrived. Overall, I just didn't really connect with the characters much, though I wanted to.
Which is another aspect where this book, and the last couple, fall short in comparison to her older books. Those books had much more dynamic characters. More depth, more passion, just more everything.
The romance angle was fairly average. The storyline dictated most of the book and the romance felt a bit blah, but it wasn't horrible. Just not memorable either.
If I consider this book as just a book without thinking of the author or her past books, this one wasn't too bad. Not great but a little better than average. But since I am very familiar with the author and her books, I have to admit that Pursuit does come up a little short. I think I said it in my last review, and it still stands true...Robards last bunch of books all seem very interchangeable. Her last two heroines have been lawyers; the last 3 heroes (at least) have all been in law enforcement in some capacity. They've all had that "big city" feel. There's just not much to make them unique. And it seems as though Robards is another romance author slowly making the romance aspect smaller and smaller. Very disappointing considering how much I've enjoyed so many of her books. I'll probably still read her next book, though (whenever it comes out). I'm not completely turned off to her books yet....more
**spoiler alert** So glad to finally be done this book. I generally enjoy books by Robards, but there really wasn't a thing that I liked about Guilty.**spoiler alert** So glad to finally be done this book. I generally enjoy books by Robards, but there really wasn't a thing that I liked about Guilty. Parts of the plot felt forced and the event that happened in the beginning was never really fully explained. The romance was barely believable. But what really bugged me about the book was the absurd logic throughout. I generally don't pick on realism and feasibility in fiction because I like how authors push boundaries and make readers stretch their imaginations, but when the logic is so far-fetched that nothing makes sense, it just doesn't work.
For one, Kate had this big bad secret she was hiding that if it came out, her life would be ruined and she'd likely go to jail for a while, leaving her young son with no one. Yet she decides to become an A.D.A. in a big city where she'd have a really good chance of ending up in the public eye. That just makes no sense. For a supposedly intelligent woman with a lot to lose, it was a dumb risk. You'd think she'd go for something much more low-key. I could have maybe bought into it if she'd had a good reason for getting the job, but no reason at all had been given except that it would hopefully one day get her a job at a big-wig law firm (yet another high-publicity potential job). The logic of this just left me shaking my head.
Secondly, I realize the choices she made were based on protecting herself and her son, but I was really bothered by the fact that she never once considered how her actions hindered the investigation into the courtroom massacre. That was just wrong. She held back information that could have led to solving the senseless deaths of numerous people, but that fact never occurred to her - a prosecuting attorney. That really makes no sense at all. Sure, if she had considered it, she probably still would have done the same thing as she ended up doing, but for it to not even occur to her at all...well, it doesn't say much for her lawyer skills.
Third, the whole relationship angle between Kate and Tom...there wasn't a thing about that that worked. She knows he believes she's lying about the massacre, knows that he's digging for answers, so what does she do, get involved with him! Right. Whatever. And Tom, he thinks she had something to do with the massacre, and knows for a fact that she is doing some serious lying, but he sleeps with her and gets all involved anyway. It made their relationship completely unbelievable.
Throughout the book, Kate just came off as rather stupid and self-serving. I just wanted her to go away. But aside from that, the neglect of details was also irritating. Robards never once told us what happened to Kate after the shooting in Balimore and before Atlantic City - a pretty important time period for her. Tom's brother was injured at the beginning, but she never says how, except that he's in ICU. Plus a few other things like that. These are things readers want to know, but Robards didn't come through.
Bottomline, just a really subpar book from Robards, in my opinion. I've read reviews that said that this was a really great, engaging thriller, but I just didn't see it. I was hopelessly bored. And like another reviewer said, I think on Amazon, Robards last few books all seem to blend together into an indistinguishable lump for some reason. They don't quite have the stand-out pizazz that her older books do. Reading and trying to finish Guilty was a major chore for me....more
**spoiler alert** I'm surprised that the average rating of this book is 4.00 (out of 6 votes). Generally I like Robards's books, but this one...UGH!
Fo**spoiler alert** I'm surprised that the average rating of this book is 4.00 (out of 6 votes). Generally I like Robards's books, but this one...UGH!
For one thing, it used my least favorite plot device: stranded in the wilderness. And secondly...I couldn't stand the characters! The plot was better than average, I guess, but the characters...yikes!
Normally I don't mind dominant alpha male heroes, but Sam was an arrogant, domineering, nasty bastard. Some of the things he said and did were just wrong. And Lisa, I had absolutely no respect for her whatsoever. I wanted to yank my hair out when I read the scenes where Sam's just said some particularly awful things to Lisa, then comes on to her and she practically just falls at his feet in supplication. I was offended for women everywhere. When they started saying they loved each other, I rolled my eyes.
It takes a lot for a book to really annoy me, but this one did it. The attitudes of the characters were more suited to some types of historicals...which I suppose makes sense considering this was Robards' first contemporary foray after writing a number of historicals. Knowing that doesn't make me like it any more.
I was glad to finish the book. It left a bad taste in my mouth....more
I enjoyed this book to a certain extent. I think you can definitely tell, though, that it is one of Robards early romantic suspense noRating - 3.5 / 5
I enjoyed this book to a certain extent. I think you can definitely tell, though, that it is one of Robards early romantic suspense novels. It doesn't have the polish and solid romance that her later books have.
The book focuses mostly on the character of Clara, a romance writer who suddenly finds her life in danger because some Russian bad guys think she knows where CIA agent Jack McClain is hiding. Clara had never heard of Jack, let alone met him, until after the Russians busted into her house. Then she finds herself on the run with him. And like most "on-the-run" type romance stories, the two end up having sex and later professing their feelings.
So the storyline is rather predictable. It's also on the ridiculous and unrealistic side of things. But it was still mostly fun to read. I loved Puff the cat. He was freakin' hilarious.
The romance was so-so. A lot of the time, Jack was almost an anti-hero. Not really a Gamma like Anne Stuart's ICE heroes, but he wasn't ever very nice. He said some mean things to Clara and never treated her very well. So I can't say I was all that into the romance. Sure, there was some chemistry, but there was nothing particularly endearing.
All in all, not bad, not great. If you're a Robards fan, like me, it's something worth reading. Or if you just happen across it used somewhere. But I wouldn't consider it a must-read romantic suspense. ...more
**spoiler alert** Vanished is a bit of a dark story. Robards doesn't really go into any gruesome detail that some might find...distasteful, but it is**spoiler alert** Vanished is a bit of a dark story. Robards doesn't really go into any gruesome detail that some might find...distasteful, but it is dark-themed, dealing with child abduction, child pornography, and other such things. It's definitely not a light story. Which is not a problem for me, really. I like a good dark, suspense.
Overall, a nice storyline. Nice progression, fairly nice romantic aspect. But I wouldn't call any part of it exceptional. I've read other books of hers that I liked a lot more. I did like Vanished, it was interesting and a good read; I just wasn't enthralled. Robards does a good job keeping you wondering who the bad guy is and setting everything up. Jake and Sarah were a good enough pair...didn't absolutely adore them, but they worked for the most part.
The one thing I really disliked about this story was the ending. When I read the last sentence I looked at it and couldn't believe that was it. I thought there needed to be more. The story really just felt so incomplete to me. I wanted to know more about what was going on with the people after her, I wanted to know more about what her daughter had been through, and I wanted more of the aftermath. I felt kind of cheated at the end. I thought the discovery of the daughter and her reintroduction was really cheap, rushed and forced. In all honesty, I almost thought the story would have been better served if the girl hadn't been found, or been known to be dead. It just didn't work for me the way Robards did it.
Anyway, decent story. Worth reading, but I've read much better books, and better from Robards....more
**spoiler alert** Really enjoyed the book. It was a real captivator - as in once I started reading it, I didn't want to put it down. Really draws you**spoiler alert** Really enjoyed the book. It was a real captivator - as in once I started reading it, I didn't want to put it down. Really draws you in.
I totally was caught by surprise over who the current killer was. I was so sure it was one person, but then the guy was "unmasked" and I was like huh, didn't see that one. I liked how different parts of the past were twisted around and fit into the present.
Also liked the typical comedic touches that Robards slipped in. The pet-pig was great. I loved that aspect.
My one complaint about the books is the ending. It was way too vague and left me wondering about way too many things. I wanted to know what happened with certain things, and those parts were just left hanging. Kinda ticked me off. But that's endings for ya....more