Friday, August 17, 2012

Alice's Review: Sweet Talk

Summary:   When FBI agent Grayson Kincaid first encounters Olivia MacKenzie, she makes quite an impression.  The beautiful, tough, young attorney has stumbled into the middle of an FBI sting operation and has reduced it to chaos. Months of surveillance and careful planning down the drain, Kincaid’s partner is furious and lets Olivia know that she’s ticked off the wrong guy. After all, he’s FBI.  Olivia isn’t intimidated by his partner’s bullying because she’s something even scarier . . . she’s IRS. And working for the IRS isn’t for the faint of heart. She’s on the trail of an elaborate Ponzi scheme, one that threatens to ruin the lives of naive and unsuspecting victims, and one she has personal reasons to be angry about. But after she asks questions of the wrong people, her life is suddenly endangered. She’s accustomed to fighting for the underdog but being vulnerable herself is a very different story. Smart enough to know when to call for reinforcements, she contacts Grayson Kincaid. Together they make an excellent team to fight corruption but Olivia is also fighting the immediate and intense attraction she feels for Agent Kincaid, and that may be a battle she is bound to lose.

Review:  I have been a fan of Julie Garwood since my late teens when I was completely addicted to historical romance novels.  One thing Ms. Garwood does extremely well is historical romance.  Pick up any one of her novels and you will see what I am talking about.  I especially love For the Roses and Saving Grace.  In 2000, she decided to cut her teeth at contemporary romance.  She introduced us to the Buchanan family with Heartbreaker and hasn’t looked back since.

Her newest installment in this FBI heavy series is Sweet Talk about a gusty IRS attorney Olivia MacKenzie and Grayson Kincaid, one of the FBI’s finest.  They meet under the usual way:  smart beautiful sexy woman gets in trouble and smart, fearless, sexy man saves her.  And of course he can’t take his eyes off her because she’s perfect and she can’t take her eyes off him because she never seen a male specimen that fine.  And so begins their whirlwind romance.

If you are looking for a break from the mold, sadly you won’t get it.  I don’t necessarily blame Ms. Garwood.  I think it could be more a genre issue than a writer’s issue.  Then again, my opinion is biased, as you will find out below.  She is far from “calling it in,” but this is lackluster compared to her earlier works.  I believe the major flaw in Ms. Garwood work is that she creates characters that are too perfect.  Even their minuscule flaws are endearing.  I found Olivia to be reckless and Grayson too domineering.  Overall the story moves quickly, it is action packed.  But is it missing something, something critical to make this a success.

The thing is I am willing to overlook these flaws because of one thing, and one thing only…I love Julie Garwood.  I love her writing style.  I love how she sucks me in.  In spite of knowing how it will end, I keep on reading.  In spite of how annoyingly perfect  the characters can be, I keep reading.  Part of me feels she can do no wrong.  What contradicts those thoughts is I have read her early contemporary romance novels and I can read the difference.  I know how fantastic Heartbreaker and my absolute favorite Mercy are.  I makes me a little sad that she can’t quite muster that magic again.  I just hope it is not lost forever.

Final Take: 3/5



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