I’m a longtime fan of Elizabeth Lowell’s romantic suspense titles. The Donovan and St. Kilda series are among my favorites, combining suspense and romance with memorable characters. Unfortunately Perfect Touch did not work for me.
Art dealer Sara Medina is known for connecting clients with the ideal artwork for them through her business venture Perfect Touch. When Jay Vermilion contacts her regarding paintings discovered on his late father’s ranch by sought after artist Armstrong “Custer” Harris, it sets off a chain of events neither could foresee.
Jay is an Iraqi War veteran, battle-weary and determined to try to salvage what remains of the Vermilion family ranch. He sees what might be a saving grace in the Custer paintings and enlists Sara’s help. Before they can move forward however, they will need to settle a tense situation with Jay’s former stepmother and half-brother who are determined to acquire the paintings and any profit to which they may be entitled. Once the bodies of two ranch employees who have been brutally slain are found, Jay and Sara are pulled into a race to find a missing painting, one so valuable someone is willing to kill for it.
This story was uneven for me. On one hand, Sara is the sort of smart, sassy heroine I’ve come to love and expect from the author. On the other hand, the suspense and story were lackluster. The beginning of the book held a long setup, introducing villains who were more caricature than character and attempting to explain the brilliance in Custer’s artwork. It was bogged down in exposition and moved at a snail’s pace in comparison to the author’s other romantic suspense novels.
The action picked up considerably during the second half or so of the novel after the bodies are discovered. The pursuit scenes with the helicopter are nail-bitingly tense and the pressure mounts as the bad guys come hard at the hero and heroine. The romance between Jay and Sara also begins to heat up, providing a welcome respite from the art hunt.
Ultimately, it took an unusually long time to get to the good part and for me that was disappointing. I’ve come to expect better from the author and can only hope her next book brings back the elements I adore in her work.