By: Diana Palmer
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: July 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: September 27, 2011
Readers have been fans of Diana Palmer for quite a while now. This is a woman who writes romance novels that have made the New York Times and USA Today’s bestseller lists. Her characters have become beloved in many romance sectors, however, this new one is a bit…dull.
Jon Blackhawk is one of those stunning, rigid, quiet lawmen who really wants to be left alone in his home of Jacobsville. He is an FBI agent who specializes in helping children and throwing kidnappers and child traffickers in prison as fast as he possibly can. This is a man who is truly - well, the way he’s written - a saint, apparently. He is the ultimate bulldog when it comes to his job, and the rumor around town is that he has ‘saved himself’ for marriage.
His rich mother, Cammy, is a true bulldog as well. All she wants is for her son to marry and give her grandchildren. In order to do this, she sends some of the most ridiculous women straight into his office to try and woo him in order to get him down the aisle. These women want the big, tough guy, but their conversations seem limited to haircuts, the latest fashion in Paris, and other things that Jon couldn’t care less about. On top of that, they all want to change Jon and make him stop playing so many video games like Halo, World of Warcraft, etc. Jon is fed up with his mother, especially since his half brother has just gotten remarried with a baby on the way; and as far as Jon is concerned, that should be enough.
Joceline, pretty much the only character with some serious backbone and sense of humor, is Jon’s paralegal and administrative assistant. There is no one smarter and no one better at her job. There is also no one better at sarcasm and she uses it to get the little ‘princesses’ Cammy sends, out of Jon’s offic. She also has the ability to banter with her boss until he becomes so frustrated he can barely speak. But he puts up with her (even though she refuses to do menial tasks like make the office good coffee).
Joceline has her own difficulties. She is a single Mom of a little boy and she is shunned by most of the town. Rumors and gossip abound where Joceline’s private life is concerned, so she keeps telling the story about how she was engaged to a military man who went off to war and never came back; that’s why she is a single mother. But, of course, Joceline has a secret that she can never tell.
Cammy despises Joceline. She is always coming to the office or calling and saying hideous words about this wonderful young woman who is completely in love with her boss, but is struggling to make sure that her asthmatic son is well, and there is enough money in the bank to take care of him.
When a monster that Jon put away gets out of prison and threatens everyone who was involved with putting him there in the first place, Jon and Joceline are in the path of his rage and must leave town in order to make sure that they remain safe. Add in a seven-year-old murder that happened to Jon’s half brother’s first family, and the story does it’s best to add a ‘thrill’ into the plot.
This book would have worked a great deal better if the setting had been about fifty-years-ago and not present-day. The reason for this is that all the characters in the book are amazingly self-righteous, and make the subjects of single parenting, sex before marriage, and racial issues into something huge, which is definitely not twenty-first-century thinking.
Quill Says: If you are a Diana Palmer fan you will enjoy this book. But for some readers the story is just a bit too outdated, and the characters all seem to be running for “saint of the year.”