Review of BEACHCOMBER by Karen Robards (see her website)
Atria Books, August 2003
Christy Petrino has been having a bad few weeks. First she finds that her job and fiance are both Mafia-connected. Then she learns that she's got to do a mob drop herself if she doesn't want her entire family killed. And now, in the North Carolina banks where she's come to drop off a package, she's being chased by a serial killer. The only good thing she finds is hunky neighbor Luke Rand. Except what Christy doesn't know is that Luke is an FBI agent assigned to monitor her. Luke is certain that Christy is dirty and he intends to take her down--no matter what he has to do and no matter what lies he needs to tell.
Things go wrong for Luke from the minute Christy spots him leaving her patio. His story about a missing cat partially convinces her, but he knows that he'll have to work fast if he's going to stay plausible. How many times can a man just run into a beautiful woman without her getting suspicious--especially when he needs to save her life so often. Because the serial killer is quite insistent and quite determined to make Christy very dead.
Author Karen Robards (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Robards) writes compelling romantic suspense. The 'Beachcomber' is a suitably nasty serial killer--and a real threat to both Christy and Luke. The Mafia threat hanging over them adds to the spice as does Luke's secret. The rising attraction between Luke and Christy is compelling. I enjoyed waiting for the inevitable moment when Christy would realize the truth about the man she was falling for. FBI assistant Greg and cat-from-hell Marvin provide welcome comic relief, allowing the suspense to sizzle.
There are a few major logic holes in BEACHCOMBER--especially the serial killer's motivation to kill Christy. For me, though, the story worked despite these flaws. Robard's skillful writing kept me glued to the book, fascinated despite myself.
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