Desert Isle Keeper
If you’re looking for a romantic suspense book with great characters and a truly suspenseful story, then have Mercy; you’ll love it. (Okay, some puns are just too obvious to resist.)
Dr. Michelle Renard saves Justice Department lawyer Theo Buchanan’s life at a New Orleans hotel. Theo has an acute appendicitis attack and collapses on top of Michelle, who rushes him to the hospital and operates on him. When he goes to find her weeks later, having been bewitched by the beautiful doctor, he finds an opportunity to return the favor. Someone is after Michelle. Four long-time friends in a group called the Sowing Club need to get something Michelle has, only she doesn’t know she has it. She and Theo have to figure out who is after her, what they want and why.
Michelle is one of Garwood’s perfect heroines, and while perfect, saintly heroines are one of my pet peeves, Garwood doesn’t beat readers over the head Michelle’s perfection. Sure, Michelle is beautiful, compentent and lives a healthy lifestyle (refreshing for a doctor since I know several in real life who could benefit from practicing what they preach), but her sense of humor gives her great likability. Michelle is innocent in some ways, but she does have some experience with men. She holds her own against Theo in most situations, and she gets in some zingers of her own.
Theo is my favorite kind of hero. He’s charming, caring, funny and handsome, but he has a steely core and protects his own when the situation calls for it. He’s captivated by Michelle when he meets her, and he goes to find her in her Louisiana bayou hometown. He befriends her father and genuinely likes the man, and he’s determined to find out who broke into Michelle’s clinic. He’s also determined to get to know Michelle as well as he can.
Theo and Michelle made a great couple. Their banter made me smile and laugh out loud several times. I especially liked the joking about Theo’s penchant for junk food in the face of Michelle’s healthy lifestyle. The sexual banter was also cute – light enough to be amusing, but sexy enough to get the point across. There were also several sweat-inducing moments following the banter. Theo was good.
The secondary characters (especially Michelle’s family) really made the book. Theo’s friend Noah, an FBI agent who was also in Heartbreaker, was very intriguing (please tell me he gets his own book soon), but the best character was Michelle’s father. He was so sweet and funny and sort of reminded me of Daniel MacGregor in Nora Roberts’ MacGregor series. He was a gently manipulative matchmaker who had a habit of talking things over with his dead wife. The townspeople also added to the atmosphere, especially when they got together to persuade Theo to stay. Michelle’s brother John Paul, a man who appeared when they needed him, was also intriguing. I’d love to see him again.
At least half of the story is told from the villains’ points of view, mostly from two of the main group and their hired killer, but there are also group scenes. It’s interesting to watch three of the members figure things out about the leader and watch their group-think. There’s also a heck of a twist about one of the group members, one readers won’t be expecting.
Garwood created a great Louisian Bayou atmosphere for this book. It was so authentic right down to the descriptions of the food, that when I closed the book, I was hungry for gumbo. The swamp was the perfect place to elude the bad guys.
When it came time to write this review, I was recalling all the reasons I sped through the story without wanting to put it down and I couldn’t come up with a single thing I didn’t like. I am happy to have found my second Desert Isle Keeper for 2001. Mercy is wonderful, suspenseful book with a good dose of humor and romance to balance it out, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.