Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Review: Dangerous by Diana Palmer
Tall, lean and headstrong, FBI agent Kilraven lives by his own rules. One of those rules includes keeping his hands off Jacobsville's resident sweetheart, Winnie Sinclair, no matter the temptation. Shy and innocent, Winnie couldn't handle a man like him--a merciless man with a haunted past. And this small town may hold not only the woman he fights to resist, but the answers to a cold case that is very personal....
Winnie has had her own share of sorrow and senses Kilraven's pain. Though she tries to deny it, the gentle 911 operator feels a connection with the darkly handsome agent. When he discovers that her family's unsavory past might have a bearing on his case, Winnie is determined to help him crack it...and the ice around his heart.
As they combine forces, the stakes rise ever higher. Winnie's life is on the line and she'll need Kilraven more than ever. But if they are to have a future, her ruthless Texan will need to confront his past and risk it all for love. (Romance)
Source: Review copy from Planned Television Arts
*Guest review by Tiger Holland from Tiger's All Consuming Books - one of my favorite blogs. Go check her out if you don't follow her already. Great book reviews, Sunday Sonnets and the occasional rant!
Kilraven is an undercover FBI agent stationed in smalltown Jacobsville, Texas. In previous books, he was investigating a kidnapping ring, but now he's looking into a murder that has ties to the cold case homicides of his wife and 3-year-old daughter, who were shot seven years ago. Winnie Sinclair is a young 9-1-1 operator and dispatcher with the Jacobsville county emergency services, and she's totally in love with Kilraven. Winnie's deceased drug-using uncle may have had something to do with the recent shady killing, (and her estranged mother who works in law enforcement also knows something about it—it's complicated), but that's a side issue, because what Kilraven really needs in order to solve the case is a woman who can talk to a crooked senator's frightened wife, who's hiding out in the Bahamas. And wouldn't you know it? Winnie's family owns the property next to where the senator's wife is staying. Wonder who he'll pick to take with him. Hmm...
The book starts out with Kilraven's POV, and he's grinching about how he hates Christmas parties, especially emergency services Christmas parties, especially emergency services Christmas parties in Jacobsville, where he's guaranteed to receive a no-brainer gift like a tie. Little does he know that Winnie Sinclair has drawn his name for anonymous gift-giving and she's made him a classy, unique painting of a raven. And little does she know that he'll hate it because the last thing his preschool daughter ever drew was a picture of a raven. (Side note: it could easily be true, but I have a 3-yr-old baby sister, and we're all just thrilled when she draws a vague colored blur, forget actually outlining and filling in a recognizable bird. But I digress.) Kilraven glares, Winnie feels sorry, and it looks like they've come to a stalemate. But then he connects the dots between some senators and some drug runners and some homicides and some other people, and figures he can avenge his daughters' death (he doesn't really miss the wife—she was a wild one) if he gets a few more facts nailed down.
Getting the facts means talking to the senator's wife, which will require a woman's touch, so Kilraven decides that he needs to marry Winnie so they can travel together without damaging her reputation. He makes it clear that he doesn't love Winnie, doesn't want a relationship or a future with her, so they will get an immediate annulment when they get back from grilling the senator's wife. Sweet, quiet, angelic little Winnie turns him down flat. (YAY!) Then she changes her mind. (Nooo...) She decides that a couple of weeks of sham marriage to the man she loves, and the opportunity to help him avenge his daughter's murder, is worth the toll it'll take on her heart.
So, in this neat genre-blend of contemporary western romantic suspense novel, there are a few issues. The dialogue feels slightly stilted because characters often discuss their feelings out loud when it's not entirely natural to do so. Or they'll deliver explanatory lines about things that are well known to both parties, and which could probably go unspoken. I wish there were more editing for repeated phrases in the book, for example, in respect to Winnie and Kilraven's ages the phrase “she was 22 to his 32” is repeated three times, by my count.
Now for the characters. I grew to respect Kilraven's knowledgability and enjoy his sense of humor. I like almost everything about him except for his treatment of Winnie. Romantically, he goes zero to sixty in about three seconds, with no warning, not even in his own POV. He'll be talking casually to Winnie and then BLAM! Instantaneous smooching. 0_0 I like both characters, but I don't really like them together. I can't help but think that Kilraven would be better off with a real spitfire of a lady who wouldn't let him get away with sinking into black moods. And Winnie's so gentle, she deserves a nice beta hero who will hold her and come home for supper every night. Thankfully, Winnie stands up to Kilraven, but a bit late in the game.
As far as the story goes, I feel I learned a lot from Dangerous about emergency services, and the western setting makes for a compelling environment. There's also some perplexity, of course. The chief exports of Jacobsville seem to be large ranches and crime. The county has a lot of troubles, and a lot of handsome men looking after their horses and land...if that doesn't spell awesomeness, I don't know what does! Plus, most of these guys are ex-Special Ops, ex-Green Beret, ex-Israeli Mossad, etc, so they're all ready to deal out justice, which makes for lots of action.
It occurs to me that Dangerous feels very much like an old-school romance, as far as the extra-dramatic story and uber-traditional male/female roles are concerned, so if you go into it expecting a story from that fictional era, you'll do all right.
Grade: 2 of 4.
Buy the book! Dangerous
Karen here - I love that review Tiger! and it just kills me how his name is Kilraven and his daughter draws a raven, Winnie's gift is a raven painting....and that they must really get married instead of pretend to be married. So funny. You do know I have to read this just for entertainment value???!!
BONUS......Tiger sent me a link to this hysterical review of another Diana Palmer book "Iron Cowboy" written by Smart Bitches Trashy Books. The author seems to have a theme going with her books and this review has got to be the funniest review I have ever read. Have a tissue handy - you might laugh so hard - you cry.