I haven’t read a Garwood book for a long, long time. I loved her historicals, but haven’t picked up one of her romantic suspense novels. I have to say I enjoyed her historicals much more than this offering. Since I haven’t read any of the others, I’m not sure if Slow Burn is a good example of her romantic suspense or not. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend it. It wasn’t terrible, but many things bothered me, especially the heroine.
Kate MacKenna and her two sisters, Isabel and Kiera, are orphans. After their mother died a few years ago, their aunt Nora stepped in to finish raising them while Isabel was in high school. With Isabel ready to start college, Nora can move home to be near her grandchildren. Kiera is in medical school and Kate moves from Boston to Silver Springs, South Carolina to be close to Isabel, determined to make her gift basket business a success in this new location.
As Kate is getting her life set up in Silver Springs, everything gets blown to hell – literally. Her wonderbra saves her from the first explosion, since she leaves the vicinity to take the dratted thing off. She chalks it up to an unlucky coincidence. When she is nearly killed at a warehouse she is trying to rent, the police begin asking her who wants her dead. To top off her bad luck, her best friend Jordan has a cancer scare and Kate rushes to Boston to support her. While there, she encounters Jordan’s brother Dylan.
Dylan is a cop whom Kate has known forever. When Dylan was wounded, Kate sat at his bedside. She has always been annoyed at Dylan’s sexual exploits, since every female on the planet wants to throw herself at him. That doesn’t stop Kate from thinking about him though. When he stops by to comfort Kate, things get out of control. Kate tells Dylan it was a one time thing, and he won’t have to worry about her trailing after him. Dylan merely says he will see Kate tomorrow. Kate hightails it out of Boston, not telling him goodbye. Dylan tracks Kate down in Silver Springs. After learning from Jordan about the danger Kate faces, he begins to settle the unfinished business he has with her.
It’s no surprise to the reader why Kate is in danger, since it’s mentioned in the first chapter. A careful reader will also recognize the villain before all is revealed. That wasn’t as much a problem for me, though, as Kate’s character was.
Kate persists in believing that Dylan could never be interested in her beyond a short term fling. Any guy who travels from Boston to Silver Springs is obviously interested in more than a weekend. Dylan is nothing if not attentive, caring and protective. These are again not characteristics of someone who is jumping the next train. Even after Kate knows she loves him, she never says anything to him about a long term relationship. He has to practically beat her over the head to get her to understand his intentions. Any reader who likes characters to communicate with each other will quickly be driven mad.
Adding to this problem was Kate’s barely controlled anxiety. Yes, she had a series of terrifying events occur, but even when she was not involved in explosions, she seemed anxious, almost on the verge of hysteria. Almost every conversation she had with anyone appeared that way to me.
The secondary characters were also pretty lackluster. Kiera and Isabel never seemed very real and mainly served to express horror at what was happening to Kate, or awe over Dylan. Their presence was definitely secondary and they never appeared as a strong part of the plot.
I was glad to finish Slow Burn as it never had that extra special something that I know Garwood can achieve. If you’re a fan of her newer books, perhaps this will be up your alley. For me, I think I’ll re-read some of her backlist historicals that I love.