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on September 14, 2016
Kids, dogs, horses, mountains, cowboys and romance: What's not to love? Christine Whitehead's novel, Tell Me When It Hurts, has them all, and more besides. But, even if it didn't, the author's smooth, articulate, empathetic story-telling would keep readers glued to the page.

Ms. Archer Loh is an assassin, and a very successful one. She has been living in seclusion for six years, since the murder of her 12-year-old daughter. Archer leaves her mountain cabin for a few days at a time to trot the globe, killing bad guys with her sniper rifle. But when a Wyoming cowboy camps in the forest adjoining her property, Archer's world spins in a whole new direction.

Connor McCall has secrets of his own, and he, too, has separated from the world, to run a sheep ranch near a tiny western town. He introduces himself to his reclusive neighbor, but Archer sends him packing with a snarl. They might have gone their separate ways and lived solitarily ever after, but circumstances conspire against them, linking them together and eventually forcing them to choose between a bright new life and the dark old one.

While the title may sound painful, the story is generally pleasant and sometimes joyful, even though the characters must, necessarily, embrace the pain of the past before they can move into a better future. If they can do it, that is.

Caveat: If you're one of those readers (ahem, guys, you know who you are) who doesn't want to read about or talk about emotions, this is not for you. This story is all heart, and it will lift and lower your warm-fuzzy levels again and again.

There is no offensive language or explicit sex, but there are adult issues, a fairly gruesome child murder, and descriptions of abhorrent criminal acts previously performed by some of Archer's victims. Pre-teen readers, wait a couple of years before diving into this one.

Everybody else, go for it. Tell Me When It Hurts is original, well-crafted, moving, and entertaining.
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on May 3, 2013
This book couldn't pick a genre, it tried to be all of them and didn't really succeed. It started well, a couple whose only child is murdered and the killer is free on a couple of technicalities. The Mom, Archer, has a chance to rectify that through a secret organization.
Then flash to Archer's past, she is a government trained assassin. So why did she need this organization again? The government has been keeping tabs on her all these years, but they don't know she belongs to this vigilante group?
Either one of these avenues would have made for an exciting book.
But suddenly FLASH we are suddenly in the middle of a cowboy romance. Archer is now divorced, living in a cabin in isolation. Enter handsome cowboy who inherits the property next door and is living in a tent on it while he decides if he will keep it or sell it. He has a truck and a horse trailer but he couldn't afford at least a pop up camper? He rides in to rescue her from the deadly sprained ankle (golly I wonder if he killed a few spiders for her too?) and his planned stay of a couple of weeks turns into months.
I still gave this book three stars. It is well written. The character development was good. I was just disappointed that it bounced around like a ping pong ball between genres and ended up on the romance version.
PREMISE: Good CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: Good STORY DEVELOPMENT: Not good, too many things left unaddressed, no eye for the details of plot.
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on June 5, 2012
I was most impressed how the author took the violent loss of Archer's child and showed her pain and how she worked through the pain. "No parent should live longer than their child," was a comment at a memorial service I attended. The child's mother made the comment and it is one that has stayed with me for years. The author understood what this comment meant.

As Archer said, Conner was sweet; he was also intelligent, patient and able to help Archer on her journey to recovery from her loss. This made a great story plot. I recommend this book so you can enjoy the depth of the characters in this moving story.
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on April 9, 2017
Yes the comments about the misleading description are correct. This isn't the typical lady assassin story...thankfully. This is a story about finding hope and love for two damaged, smart, funny people.
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on June 18, 2012
I loved the story. I like stories that start with the tragedy and then slowly try to build the lives back to where they should have been and this story does just that - that's probably a big part of where the comparison to The Horse Whisperer comes from. Archer struggles to find a reason and a will to live after her daughter died and I loved going on her journey with her. Every part of it seems real and Connor's reluctance to push her into who he wants makes him a really great match for her.

I loved both Archer and Connor. Archer, at her lowest in life, is a character that I just want to hold and tell that everything will get better. Connor, who's kind of drifting through life, doesn't get a lot of characterization - most of the book is told from Archer's perspective - but we see his loyalty and love for both his ranch and for Archer. I also really liked the secondary characters, especially the character of Peter. At first he comes across as a kind of bastard, but he really does have a heart. I love him.
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on September 16, 2012
I found this to be a fairly well-written and engaging story. The title is a bit of a misnomer, because when we get to know Archer, she is hurting, or trying to numb the pain and guilt over her daughter's death all the time. At the heart of this is a love story. It isn't necessarily what I would classify as strictly a romance, although there are elements of that there. Although there are some brief references to sex, it isn't an overly sexualized story, as so many are today. I think the relationship portrayed between Connor and Archer is more believable because of it. The book is more of a slow unraveling of the past and present, showing how someone who is mired in grief and pain finds a way to move beyond the past, in order to truly live and love again. It isn't a fast-paced plot driven book, but I was engaged in the story. With her unexpected new neighbor Connor as the catalyst, Archer slowly re-establishes connections to family and friends, and finds someone who is worth the risk of loving again. In the end, it is about a person's need for human (and animal) companionship, to love and be loved.
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on June 17, 2017
I loved this book because the main character had an unusual life. I wasn't ready for the book to end
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on June 29, 2014
I liked everything about the book. I would recommend it to everyone. A great thing....it had absolutely NO SEX. It was well written and touching. I admit, I cried in a couple places. I liked all the characters. And it actually HAD an ending, unlike some of the books I've read recently that leave you absolutely hanging so you have to go buy the next book to see what happens (but I refuse to do that, and I will never buy another book by an author who pulls that). And it was a good ending too. This is only the second review I have ever written. It was so nice to finally read a GOOD book. Disappointing, though, because there are no other books by this author.
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on July 2, 2014
I absolutely loved this book, more so than I thought I would after reading the Book Description. The Book Description is good, but I just thought it would be just an enjoyable read instead of a fantastic read. I LOVED Archer and Connor's story. Archer's story with how she coped with the death of her daughter was really sad. I don't want to give away any more of the story than given in the Book Description. Looking at some of the reviews, some people didn't like this book. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes. I like to judge a book by reading it. I glad I didn't listen to the negative reviews. I highly recommend this book.
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on November 27, 2017
Great read with a little hitch to keep you wondering how it will turn out. Any book that has horses in it attracts me.
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