Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Rating: 2
Summertime in Nashville gets pretty steamy. No wonder Tess and Scott combust.
Nashville Homicide Detective Tess O’Malley has a lot to prove. She comes from a long line of police officers, including her father and older brothers. First, she and her partner are taken off a high-profile case and sidelined with a cold case instead. After reviewing the files, she’s certain her cold case is connected to the current one, and she sets out to prove it. Too bad it means locking horns with a handsome PI who could win her heart and derail her career.
Scott Holt is all business when it comes to running his family’s PI firm. When the lovely Detective O’Malley comes to question him about his possible involvement in her cold case, he has everything but business on his mind. Like locking lips with the fiery redhead.
In one of his stand-up gigs, Patton Oswalt jokes about his girlfriend who can’t stand violence as depicted in movies, and yet watches the most graphic true crime programs available on television. I’ve always said I resemble this remark; back when A and E had decent programming, I gobbled up back-to-back, hour-upon-hour true crime shows such as Cold Case Files, American Justice, and City Confidential. Therefore, this book, with its cold case, serial killer, strong-willed detective and smooth PI, seemed like the perfect blend for a reader who loves a good, juicy romance with a good story to accompany it.
Ms. Ryan does a splendid job of weaving a strong plot around equally strong, likeable characters. Her descriptions are rich and vivid, and her characters grow at a steady pace. The love scenes are likewise hot and passionate without sacrificing story for sex, which I really appreciated. Even after the relationship has been consummated, it’s back to business. The novel’s realism was perhaps its strongest asset.
I also appreciated the way Ms. Ryan incorporated the killer’s point of view. One of my pet peeves in suspense novels is the trend of giving the antagonist a few paragraphs at the end of the chapter to congratulate him/herself on how sneaky he/she is for seemingly no purpose other than to inform the reader of something they could have guessed: the leads are going in the wrong direction. Instead of continuing on these glimpses into the mind of a psychopath with little payout, Ms. Ryan allowed us to witness a crime in progress, which reminded me of Thomas Harris’s villains—rounded and crafty, and serving a purpose when we get their perspective.
Yet for a novel that had everything working for it, I had a surprisingly difficult time getting from start to finish. On paper, the premise seemed right up my alley, but something failed to connect with me on a personal level. The characters were strong and likeable and the story was good, but it didn’t drag me in as I expected. It’s a good book, but one I won’t revisit, and not just because I know the ending.
If you’re looking for a good, solid story with believable characters and a plot that keeps you on your toes, be sure not to miss Love Me If You Can.
3 ½ Tea Cups!