Review of GLORY DAYS by Irene Peterson (see her website)
Zebra, February 2006
Since he got shot in a botched bust, ex-FBI agent John Preshin has worked as a private eye, finding people who have money coming, staking out people who don't want to be found, and finding and forgetting women. But when a cop shows up with a kid claiming he's her father, John's life is turned upside down. Not that he could possibly be her father--although his name is on the list she brought from the convent where she's lived all her life. But the other guys on the list aren't much to hope for--one priest, one dying ex-cop, one bartender in an S&M club, one wanna-be-hood, and one overworked refinery employee. None would be great fathers--and their wives are worse.
Still, John can't exactly turn Carly down--and she has nowhere else to go. He takes the case.
Beautiful redhead Liz Atwater is back home in New Jersey after finally escaping a horrible marriage and a horrible tragedy. When she discovers her grandmother's tenant, naked, in the diner her grandmother runs, Flo suspects he's a criminal and grabs a knife. And what's with that "Z" tattooed to his chest? When it turns out that her grandmother knows the guy--that he's a trustworthy ex-FBI type, Liz relaxes a little. But there is the little matter of just about every woman John runs into calling him Bourbon John and slapping him in the face.
As John investigates Carly's possible fathers, he realizes the poor kid doesn't have a lot of good options. What if it's the priest? Can he ask the man to give up his vocation to stay with a sixteen-year-old girl. As for the hood, he's as likely to abuse the child as he is to take care of her. Meanwhile, John has to fight the attraction he feels for Liz. Unlike just about every other woman, who's forgotten by the next morning, Liz stays on his mind even when she's not around. Getting her into his bed once doesn't cure him--in fact, it makes her want more. But John has a secret--and an oath. He's going to get his revenge on the man who killed his friend in that bad bust--and there can't be a happily ever after for him.
Author Irene Peterson delivers a compelling story filled with the atmosphere of a decaying New Jersey beach town, a hero and heroine who are so badly damaged that they are the only hope of each other's repair, and a sixteen-year-old girl who is just cranky enough not to be perfect. The story is as much that of finding the right father for Carly as it is finding matches for Liz and John. Although the answer to that question is clear from the start, getting there is definitely more than half the fun.
GLORY DAYS is the debut novel for Irene Peterson--I'll definitely be looking for more from this author. (See more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Peterson)
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