The tagline on New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood’s website — Suspense that Cuts Straight to the Heart — aptly describes her latest contemporary title, ‘Murder List’.
I’ve read most of Julie’s historical romances and loved how she always manages to weave such poignant emotions around her main characters. Her heroines are usually feisty, resourceful and courageous in one way or another. My very first Julie Garwood romance was ‘Saving Grace’ and to this day it has remained on my bookshelf, even while I read and return the other novels. The other titles I love include ‘The Secret’, ‘Ransom’, ‘The Wedding’ and ‘The Bride’. She uses lush descriptive language and tight narrative to bring medieval Scotland to glorious life in these books revolving around the central theme of loyalty, honour and passion.
With ‘Murder List’ (see synopsis here), she transports the reader to a dark and seedy Chicago, using the third person perspective of a mentally unbalanced and tortured murderer interchangeably with the victim, hotel heiress Regan Hamilton, to give one a glimpse into a twisted mind and the quiet bravery of a heroine with a true heart of gold. She strings you along with suspense and intrigue that builds steadily, interspersing the story with heart-stopping moments of panic as well as some heart-warming snippets of the budding romance between Regan and her police detective bodyguard. You don’t learn the name of the psycho until nearly the end, and it does make for some good mystery solving.
I was so bowled over by this new genre of Julie’s books that I went on to borrow ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘Mercy’ at the local library for a good dose of thrilling whodunit mystery. With ‘Heartbreaker’, I’ve already put a name to the killer but not the disguise he went under. So I was saved from an anti-climactic ending, having to guess right until the end who the murderer is posing as. Of course there are the ubiquitous tender love scenes, hey but she’s never pretended that this was a mystery novel. Such books are romantic thrillers.
Hardcore mystery fans could do well to turn to Mary Higgins Clark, Agatha Christie and the likes for their dose of brain-cracking crime-solving. However, if you’re looking for a lightweight suspense novel with a good dollop of romance, then you’vepicked the right author. For more reviews of her books, go to Amazon for consumer’s reviews or read also these other reviews by Book Reporter, AAR (who didn’t really like it) and Epinion. There, you’ll have the chance to compare and decide.
For me, this is still a delightful read, so if you haven’t read them yet, try them.
Until next time … …
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ~Winston Churchill