Love with the Proper Stranger
Suzanne Brockmann is a versatile writer. The Kissing Game is a sweet romantic comedy. Time Enough for Love is a time-travel romance and the three books in her Tall, Dark and Dangerous mini-series (Prince Joe, Forever Blue, and Frisco’s Kid) are romantic adventure stories featuring my favorite group of mucho macho Navy SEALS, the guys from Alpha Squad. In Love With the Proper Stranger, Suzanne tackles romantic suspense and comes up with a fast-paced read featuring a tortured hero, an imperfect heroine and an vicious female serial killer. The novel moved with express train speed. I wish it could have been longer.
John Miller is an FBI agent nicknamed Robot Man. He is icy cold, frighteningly efficient and a loner’s loner. He and his partner have been tracking a woman who marries rich men who are either old or ill. She drugs them, then stabs them to death and takes as a trophy a lock of their hair. The FBI has traced her to a Georgia resort and John volunteers to go undercover and pose as a wealthy cancer patient to try and get to this woman before she kills again.
While at the resort, John meets Marie Culver, the successful but burnt-out CEO of a computer company who has come to the resort to relax. Despite her success in the business world, Marie is a very insecure woman. She is over six feet tall with muscular legs, wide hips and a large bosom. Marie is ashamed of her large size, a feeling that her divorced husband drummed into her. John and Marie are immediately attracted to each other. Marie is a kind woman who feels sorry for this lonely, ill man and John is not put off by Marie’s size. He is a big man himself and considers her a goddess.
The serial killer is using the alias Serena Westford. She is a cold-blooded, viciously amoral woman who kills because she likes to. There is a tantalizing hint that Serena has been abused in the past, but this is not developed, probably because it would make the book too long for a category romance, but this is no hindrance to the plot. Serena has become friends with Marie at the resort and meets John when Marie brings him to a party.
The stage is set. Marie is falling in love with John and he with her, but he must woo and win Serena to get close enough to capture her. If he wins Serena, he will betray Marie and possibly lose her forever. But Serena learns John’s true identity and she sets out to kill both him and Marie. When I got to this part I was sitting on the edge of my seat and reading faster than I’ve read in a long time.
Love With the Proper Stranger reinforces my admiration for Suzanne Brockmann’s talents. She is an excellent storyteller who is at home in a variety of styles. I hope she will write more romantic suspense soon because she definitely has a knack for it.