Along Came Trouble
Along Came Trouble is the last in a trilogy. I picked up on the story and characters with no problems at all, and the book was a quick read. But an improbable beginning, a meandering storyline, and unmemorable characters added up to an extremely disappointing book.
Mary Elizabeth Chandler and Tucker Spencer were childhood friends and sweethearts. His family and friends all thought they would marry, but she dumped him for rising politician Larry Chandler. Tucker went on to become the respected sheriff of the county, but he has nursed a broken heart for six years. Liz’s marriage quickly went sour since Larry turned out to be a compulsive womanizer, but she held her head up until she could not take it anymore; they got into a public fight when she told him she wanted a divorce. Shortly thereafter, Liz came home to find Larry dead in a pool of blood.
If I came home and found my husband dead in a pool of blood, I know I’d do just what Liz does. Yep, I’d go to my old boyfriend’s house, take off my bloody clothes, put on one of his t-shirts and then go to sleep in his bed. Isn’t that what any sensible woman would do?
Tucker is pretty surprised to find Liz half-naked in his bed and a pile of bloody clothes in his house, but he decides that he’s got to help her even though all his family and most of the town hate her for dumping him six years ago. So Tucker takes a leave of absence, turns over the official investigation to his deputy and works for Liz on his own. As he works, all his old tender feelings for Liz come back (they were childhood sweethearts after all).
No one seems to do much sleuthing. Most of the book consists of Liz (with Tucker) telling her story to various people – Tucker’s sister, his brother, Larry’s business partner, Larry’s political cronies. To paraphrase the great Yogi Berra, the story was “deja vue all over again.” When the book didn’t re-hashing the Larry-Liz relationship, its concern was a sub-plot involving Tucker’s meddling old father, King, and his courtship of Frances.
Toward the end of the book, Liz indulges in a classic piece of TSTL behavior when she insists on going off on her own just after someone tries to burn down her family home. Of course that someone is the murderer – a person who comes right out of nowhere.
Tucker and Liz are bland and boring. Yes, they are described, but no, I can’t tell you what they looked like and frankly I didn’t care. The first two books in this series – About That Man and Ask Anyone – received grades of C- and D+ respectively, so if you read them regardless, my lack of a recommendation for this one won’t mean much. And if you haven’t read this series previously, I can’t think of a reason why you’d want to start now. Bland plus boring add up to tepid as far as I’m concerned, which is hardly a good description of a romantic suspense novel. Yawn.