Julie Garwood





Pocket Books, Paperback Release Aug 2002
Reviewed by Sissy Jacobson

Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Theo Buchanan, an attorney for the Justice Department and brother of Nick Buchanan, the FBI agent featured in HEARTBREAKER, is in New Orleans to attend a fund raiser and receive an award. He has ignored the ache in his side for several days, and what's a little fever? Buchanans are tough. Dressed in his tux, he mops the sweat off his brow and heads downstairs to the banquet held in his honor.

Dr. Michelle " Mike" Renard, a gifted surgeon, is bemoaning the fact that she spent four hundred dollars for the dress she is bought to attend this gala, when she observes a tall, handsome man with an athletic build, and a pasty gray cast to his face. As she watches, he leans against a pillar, bends over, and clutches his abdomen. Michelle goes to him and asks if she can help; Theo raises his head and promptly throws up all over her brand new designer gown. Mike calls an ambulance and rushes him to the hospital where she performs an emergency appendectomy. He is vaguely aware of Willie Nelson singing, Michelle's blue eyes, and a few other bits and pieces that happen before he goes to sleep on the operating table. When he wakes up in his room, Dr. Renard is there checking his chart.

Members of a crime family have made threats against Theo's life. After he wraps up some loose ends in Boston, Theo is ordered to make himself scarce for a while and carry a revolver. Since he can't get the beautiful, red-headed, blue-eyed Dr. Renard out of his mind, he decides to take her father up on his invitation to go fishing. Three weeks later, he lands in New Orleans, rents a car, and heads to Bowen. He stops to get directions from a teenager who immediately decides Theo is the new football coach the local high school is recruiting. Nothing Theo says can convince him otherwise, so the rumor spreads like wildfire before he even gets to The Swan, Jake Renard's bar.

In New Orleans, a foursome whose greed led them to form the Sowing Club are discussing ways to get rid of Michelle. They know papers sent to her reveal they are responsible for a certain mercy killing. The sole aim and purpose of the Sowing Club is to sow millions of dollars into a secret offshore bank account, and nothing should be allowed to get in their way. When Michelle's office is trashed and her home is broken into, Theo calls Noah Clayborne, an FBI agent and friend, who along with Michelle's brother, Jean Paul, help protect her and try to find out who the killers are. Monk, the professional the Sowing Club hired, gets away and appears in Ms. Garwood's next book, KILLJOY.

For those of us who have bemoaned the fact that Julie Garwood has turned to contemporary romantic suspense, there is good news. In MERCY, Ms. Garwood's "voice" comes through loud and clear. She writes with the same rhythm, sentence structure, and humor that we love in her historicals. The characters are wonderfully true to life, and the dialogue is snappy and witty. Not once is a Cajun word or phrase used, yet I can hear the Cajun accent when the characters speak. The romance is more than satisfying, the action is edge of the seat, and this book never slows down. We meet Jean Paul, Michelle's brother who is the hero in KILLJOY, and are briefly introduced to her brother, Remy. I waited a long time to read MERCY and now I'm sorry I put it off. I find that it is better than HEARTBREAKER, but that is only my opinion. If you haven't read MERCY yet, I suggest you pick up a copy and see if you agree with me. Julie Garwood has another hit with this one, and has left openings for more books to follow. We can only hope.


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