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All's Fair in Love and Law (The Sullivan Boys) Paperback – October 26, 2010
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Review: The cover definitely caught my eye. The old frame house with broken windows and a baseball bat at the bottom of the cover made me want to read the story to find out if it was kids mischief or.......
This is book four of a series and I usually don't like to start a series in the middle because I feel like I am missing some of the events that that would fill me in when things are mentioned that happened previously. I read the "Kudos for K M Daughters before I started reading the story and wondered if they were build-ups. When I finished reading the story, I went back to the "kudos" page and agreed with the descriptions there. Romantic Suspense, crisp dialogue, believable characters, hard to put down, balance of action and drama are some of the comments and I agree with all of them. It is a well written story.
The prologue sets the stage describing a man with big problems, Wow, is he a psycho or what?
Patrick Sullivan is a policeman who meets Charlie and is immediately attracted to her; the feeling is returned. Instant hot, filled with lust, attraction describes them. Then he finds out she is a defense attorney for the "most prestigious law firm in Illinois". Uh oh he's a cop and she is a defense attorney, they are on opposite sides in the courtroom. Overcoming their differences adds a lot of conflict to their relationship.
Italicized portions keep interrupting what is happening between Patrick and Charlie. These descriptions get more and more intense and sadistic. The serial killer likes baseball bats. You can read for yourself why he likes them. It makes me gag just to think about him and the bats. UGH. Oh, and talking about the ugh factor; the description of Charlie eating her rare hamburger "blood tinged, juices leaking onto her hands" totally grossed me out.
The descriptions in this story of food, of the Chicago scenes, and others made me feel like I was part of the story. Food descriptions made me ravenous (well not the hamburger description) I had to get up and go to the refrigerator and find a snack.
Other characters are described in almost as much detail as Pat and Charlie. Senator Morgan needs to have some manners slapped into him. Shirlee, the hooker who escapes the murderer, and her son Lincoln become more than victims, they are 'real' people, not just secondary characters in a story.
I am not a reader of this kind of suspense usually, but once I started, I just had to continue. I don't know that I would read All's Fair again, its violence is more graphic than I care for, especially as late night reading; but I do want to read the three earlier books in this series.
Imagine my surprise and dismay when it begins with the announcement that one of the family members has died in a car accident (off screen), and the family is struggling to pick up the pieces. I was horrified, and have to admit that I closed my eReader and put it down for a while. How could the authors DO that to me?
Once I recovered from my shock, I started reading again. I'm sure there was a reason behind the death, thought I'm not convinced that the story relied on it, and I know that things like that happen in real life, but I mourned his loss like he was my own friend. And you know what that means? It means the authors are skillful enough to completely wrap me up in their world and in their characters.
This story doesn't revolve around that death. Instead it's about the newly promoted Captain Patrick Sullivan and his attractive nemesis, defense attorney, Charlie Demarco. Her job is to get her clients off the hook, no matter what, and she's very good at her job. Even so, Pat can't help but be attracted to her. She's gorgeous (and he meets her the first time before he knows who she is), she's smart, she's funny... she's perfect all rolled up in a great package, if not for that pesky job.
To make matters worse, there's a serial killer on the loose.
So, they have this push/pull relationship with each of them on the other side of the line. Still, they manage to fall in love despite that, until something comes up to tear them apart.
I admit, I'm struggling to write this review. I love the Sullivan family, and K. M. Daughters' writing is tight, strong, descriptive and just well done. But ...
But I really struggled with Charlie's character. I understood that she needed to work to pay off the debt she incurred on her family's behalf, but I just couldn't believe that she'd willingly get criminals off the hook. I couldn't help but think that working anywhere else doing anything else (even if she couldn't be a lawyer) would have been preferable because how do you live with yourself when you have to do something so contrary to your beliefs on a daily basis? It really made it difficult for me to like her and to understand how someone like Patrick Sullivan, with his strong set of morals, could set aside her job as though it really didn't matter. It mattered to me. She redeems herself, of course, or she wouldn't be our heroine, but I still struggled with her choices at the start.
Even so, the rest of the story was strong enough for me to accept her at face value, try to like her and keep on reading. As with the other K. M. Daughters' books, the mystery was secondary to the romance. It was still strong, and interesting, but the romance was at the fore - which is just fine with me.
Patrick is a woman's dream: handsome, strong, trustworthy, sexy, thoughtful. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him fall in love. His determination to solve the serial killer crimes is fabulous, too. Really, aside from a bit of temper, he has very few flaws. And he comes with a great family.
Truly, it's the characters that make this story (and the other books in the series) fabulous. I know them all, each individual, and am thoroughly wrapped up with them, which is why I mourned the death of the one who died. The authors have the knack for vivid, three-dimensional characters and I'm a sucker for a character driven story.
So, if you're looking for some wonderfully written romances with a hint of mystery and populated with plenty of great folks, you won't go wrong choosing the Sullivan Boys series by K. M. Daughters. I'm a solid fan and recommend them all.
Originally posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews