This is my first Suzanne Brockmann and I’m relieved to start with this one since beginning the Troubleshooters series seems such a daunting task. I’m pleased to say, however, that after this one, I’m looking forward to tackling that intimidating backlist.
Dr. Alison Carter has spent her entire life idolizing a hero from the past in the form of 19th century Marshall Silas Quinn. When she’s given the chance to work with a renowned Hollywood director to bring her idol to the screen she jumps at the chance. Little does she know when she begins her consulting work on set that a sexy stranger who is the spitting image of Jamie “the Kid” Gallagher, Quinn’s archenemy and the killer of his wife, will make her doubt something she and all of America have known as truth since the days of the Wild West.
Already dealing with more than his fair share of trials and tribulations, A.J. Gallagher is challenged even more when his great-grandfather’s ghost appears to him and prompts him to travel from his home in Heaven, Alaska to Jubilation, Arizona to set the record of his grandfather’s life straight. With Jamie’s help, he finds a way to prompt Alison to listen to him, even though he has little proof to support his claims and at times doubts his own sanity. After all, how can you prove a ghost’s story? Though always wary, she’s willing to listen to him and grows to enjoy his company while awaiting proof that his claims are legitimate. While A.J. reveals more of Jamie’s story, Alison is unknowingly involved in another sort of complication that’s enough to capture the attention of the FBI that begins to question the motives of all those involved with the production.
While A.J. and Alison’s story develops, two other stories are revealed simultaneously. First, through Jamie’s own narration and letters from the past, we learn of his life and motives. For me, Jamie’s life stole the show and provided truly bittersweet and romantic moments. His relationship with his great-grandson was heartwarming and made me nostalgic. In addition, the FBI agents fumble their way through their own romance as well, though it’s minor compared to the others.
Brockmann’s characterizations are fleshed out and propel the story to a large degree. A.J. has many issues that drive his character. He’s older than the average romance hero and knows when to back off and when to pursue – with Jamie’s help and constant advice, of course. Other than that, I found him flat out sexy and romantic and I wanted his HEA as badly as he did. Alison reacts appropriately to all she learns throughout the course of the story; she’s extremely skeptical and doubtful and I found her reactions quite realistic. Another plus in her favor is the fact that she’s a history professor. Together, their romance is warm and heartfelt.
However, as much as I liked the story Brockmann tells, I had a few issues. I admit the ghost element took me completely by surprise. Though I read the blurb that stated “ghosts from the past,” I interpreted that as more figurative than literal and found it off-putting at first. However, once I got into the story, Jamie was what kept me reading in his romantic, rough and tumble sort of way. Also, there is definitely a political agenda coursing throughout and, though it didn’t bother me, it was certainly noticeable. Most importantly, I thought the suspense elements within the story began to drag and become a burden and I wanted the characters to get on with it already. Even after the reveal, the connections are only loosely related and over the top.
On a whole, there’s much to enjoy about Infamous. Emotionally appealing characters, a real hero in the form of a ghost, and a unique setting all combine to create a pleasing story that was worth the time.