By Morgan Mandel
Choice One Publishing
August, 2009, Trade Paper,
This is one fine emotional story. Yes, if you read romantic mystery fiction extensively, you will likely have encountered elements of the story. It doesn’t matter. This is a well-put-together novel that carries the reader briskly to a smashing conclusion.
Julie McGuire is a hot Chicago attorney in a small partnership with Dade Donovan. Their talents and hard work have built a successful law firm. But Julie harbors a secret life-long dream—to be a writer, a published author. One day at a local mystery convention she meets a lusty, talented and tormented author named Tyler Jensen. He’s also more than passingly handsome in a sensual sort of way. Jensen offers Julie his help in the form of workshops and other ways to break in running on the fast track of publishing. How can she resist?
Tyler’s sponsorship is not without its price. Will Julie pay the price? Will she give up hard-won professional recognition to chase her other dream? Is Tyler Jensen everything he says he is—and maybe more?
And what about Julie’s partner, Dade? Can she, will she abandon this life-long partner? Questions arise almost as fast and in all manner of complexity paralleling the personal feelings that swirl around, rising and falling with the fortunes of the principals in this tense novel of romantic suspense.
The novel is not without its problems. Mandel is adept at steadily increasing the level of tension, but sometimes takes too much time to make her points. There are situations in which the pace should be raised with fewer words. Overall, tighter writing would benefit the reader. Conversely, there are places where I wished for fuller descriptions of place and circumstance. The emotions of the characters are all there, laid bare. A little more context might have enriched the experience.
In the end these problems are overcome by the story and the interest the author ultimately develops in readers for the central characters. I’ll read more from this author.