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HEARTBREAKER by Julie Garwood

HEARTBREAKER

By Julie Garwood

Pub Date: July 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-671-03299-2
Publisher: Pocket

A psychopath confides his obsessions to a terrified priest, whose beloved sister is the star of the killer's homicidal fantasies: Garwood's first foray into contemporary romantic suspense.

Father Tom Madden and younger sib Laurant are close, even though the untimely death of their parents meant a childhood spent thousands of miles apart. The lovely Laurant grew up in a posh Swiss boarding school run by kindly nuns, while Tom was raised by the equally kindly Buchanan family in heartland America. Nick Buchanan, like a brother to Tom then, is now a special agent for the FBI. Tom turns to Nick to help track down the mysterious killer who calls himself Heartbreaker, but Laurant wishes he hadn't. Her immediate reaction to the "incredibly sexy" FBI agent is anything but sisterly, though his protectiveness and take-charge attitude trouble her. When Laurant realizes, however, that the stalker is getting closer every day, she stops arguing with Nick and falls in love. For the most part, Garwood avoids the grittiness of a procedural thriller and only hints at gory doings, concentrating instead on psychological suspense and Heartbreaker's increasing derangement as her somewhat formulaic story moves rapidly to a shattering climax. Straightforward style and brisk pacing zip readers past minor implausibilities, aided by a host of familiar small-town types, including a batty neighbor and a crooked sheriff. Readers of the author's historical romances (For the Roses, 1995, etc.) will be on familiar territory here despite the modern-day setting, and the frank sensuality of the love scenes is sure to please. A quickie denouement resolves the soapy subplots—Laurant's legal wrangle over a family trust, Nick's fear of flying (hey, tough guys can tremble), Father Tom's battle with cancer—and naturally love triumphs.

Add a pinch of Psycho to a generous helping of General Hospital, and you've got the idea.