Labels: LHoward, Triple8Challenge08
I had this title in my TBR pile forever. I picked it up when I found out it was the first installment in the series involving John Medina the hero in the first Linda Howard book I had ever read, All the Queen's Men. This book introduces us to his character when he is drawn into the murder investigation of his father, Rick Medina.
Karen Whitlaw has recently buried her mother when she receives a package from her absent father, Dexter. He had walked out on them shortly after returning from war but her mother always held a torch for him and lived for his memory and the hope he would return. Karen cannot forgive him and wants nothing to do with him, so she packs up the contents of the package and promptly forgets it's existence until she receives a call from Det. Marc Chastain from the New Orleans police informing her that her father has just been murdered.
Seems Dexter Whitlaw had a blackmail going that blew up in his face when Senator Stephen Lake contracts Rick Medina to take out his problem. Rick has been led to believe that this hit is a matter of security and that Dexter is harming others. What he is not told is that Dexter has been so difficult to find they need an expert like Medina to uncover him but Medina will suffer the same fate as Whitlaw does. This does not go over well with his son, John.
Det. Chastain is a bit rough with Karen when she arrives to identify her father because he believes that Dexter was just an old vet abandoned by his well to do family. He realizes his error in short order but Karen still feels the bad vibes thrown her way, which is why it was tough for me to swallow the 'I've fallen for you' . After the funeral there is a passionate encounter between these two (call it a slip on Karen's behalf) and the morning after has Karen running away, back to her home town where there is a killer looking for the blackmail material her Dad sent her. She realizes something is not right and runs back to where she feels safe, New Orleans.
Even though you knew who the villain was straight off the bat, you really didn't know what the black mail was about, what was the big secret the Senator was going to great extremes to cover up. It was a believable blackmail which is what tipped this book over for me. The heat between the couple was great but the love blooming between them was not. It was difficult to believe the couples feelings where real and I would have liked the book much more if Howard had not pushed a HEA but more of the beginning of something really good between these two.
The book was still worth the read and I definitely would recommend it to those John Medina fans. He did not have a main role but we meet him and saw the softer side of him at the end.