on December 20, 2003
This continuation of Julie Garwood's exciting and well-written 'Mercy' was a lackluster disappointment. It almost felt like it had been written by another person!
Where its predecessor, 'Mercy,' made Monk an intriguing villain, 'Killjoy' turned him into a buffoon. The protagonists had few likeable moments, and while I had hoped John Paul Renard's character would be given more depth now that he was the hero of the story, there was hardly any development. Perhaps that was what was what was so unappealing about this novel - everyone, whether they were supposed to be on the side of right or wrong, came off as immensely shallow, and the traumas that were meant to endear them to the reader felt sorely contrived.
Also, too often the action of the story was told in past-tense summation. Escapes, explosions - some moments that could have been tense, page-turners were half-heartedly skimmed over in ho-hum narrative. The end result was more deflating and tedious than thrilling.
Julie Garwood's prior work is much more entertaining than this selection.
on October 11, 2003
Killjoy was, to say the least, a killjoy. I consider Julie Garwoods an excellent writer (though her historical romances seem to be a bit formulaic), but this story really let me down.
The beginning starts off incredibly slow. Garwood describes the childhood of the main character, Avery through her "young" eyes. Maybe it's just that I don't particularly like this style but I thought it was a bit too cheesy for my taste. The next chapter is pretty slow, too, as it talks about everything between Avery and her Aunt Carrie.
The storyline, though promising ends up lacking any real substance. The characters aren't given much depth- their actions don't mesh with what their personalities are supposed to be. Aunt Carrie was supposed to be as sweet as can be, but I found her character to be vulgar and not likeable at all. Avery seemed a bit too sweet for somebody working in the FBI, and she lacked the confidence I'd expect. I was disappointed that her third book was to be written about John Paul, as he wasn't described as a great person in the book Mercy. He wasn't very exciting, and it was hard to grasp the fact that he fell in love with her because she could stand up to him. As for the 'evil' characters, they were a bit laughable. Monk (from Mercy) is lovesick and seemingly weak. The story would have been more exciting if he had truly been a smooth operator instead of a guy drooling over a girl. As for Jilly... we're constantly bashed over the head with how 'evil' she is. She is described as evil and vicious, but her behavior doesn't seem to match that so well.
All in all, I didn't find this book to be interesting. It lacked the usual warm humor in Garwood's other books, and the ending left many questions unanswered. The general plot is interesting, I just feel that Garwood could have done more to really increase the danger and love elements. I just hope she writes a book about Noah Clayborne soon!
on September 4, 2003
I have long been a fan of Julie Garwood's work, having first fallen in love with her historical novels. I admit to being disappointed when she switched to suspense romance though. Her newer books (Mercy, Heartbreaker) lack the sense of humor she had in the historical pieces. In fact, the humor was the reason I so enjoyed her books. For the first time Ms. Garwood has included that humor in her suspense novels.
I enjoyed Killjoy, though as with other reviewers I was disappointed also with the ending. After the huge build-up, the ending left a lot to be desired, the reader is just left hanging.
Avery Delaney is an FBI analyst. For a woman that is perceived to be so brilliant in the begining she really does fizzle when her own life is in danger. The hero, is fairly predictable. He like all heros is a loner with deep emotional scars. He is the typical macho man who saves the day.
The plot is complicated and the villian just too warped for words. Jilly, the supposedly dead mother of Avery has returned for revenge. She is delusional and apparently so beautiful that every man she ever meets falls hopelessly in love with her. Jilly concocts a complicated scheme to kill Avery and her aunt. Of course the plans to wrong and she and her accomplice struggle to find a way to kill them before being caught.
I found the dialog between Avery and John Paul witty and it reminded me of many of her earlier works. Hince the reference to the humor. This is the first of her contemporary novels that I have truely enjoyed and hope she continues to improve in this area.
on August 25, 2003
As an avid reader of anything by Julie Garwood, everything she writes automatically goes in my bookshelf of keepers. This book is no exception. While reading the first half of the book, I found myself staying up much later than I should just to read one more chapter... then one more... If you read as much as I do, you know how that goes. Usually that's the sign of an excellent book. In this case, however, as much as I enjoyed the first part of the book, the ending really disappointed me. After the excitement and build-up, I expected a grand conclusion, and it never happened. I couldn't believe Avery never confronted her mother. I couldn't believe I didn't get to see Jilly captured. Even now, two days after finishing the book, I'm still in disbelief over the ending. Mrs. Garwood was on a roll and then it seems she just lost steam or something. Despite the disappointment, however, I'd still recommend the book to anyone, because I believe that Julie Garwood at her worst is better than many writers at their best.
on August 5, 2003
I am a longtime Julie Garwood fan, and never thought I would see the day when I would give one of her books a 1 Star rating. The day has come! I couldn't get past page 160, in "Killjoy," before I had to put the novel down. I am talking about 160 pages of the most boring prose I have ever read. I loved all Ms. Garwood's historical romances. I just don't think she has written anything original, worthwhile, or interesting since she began writing "contemporary romantic suspense fiction," (crsf).
I read "Heartbreaker" when it first came out, and while not one of the best "crsf" books on the already glutted market, I did finish it, and even enjoyed some parts. I thought, this is a new effort for the author, and she will surely improve and attain her previous heights as a romance writer. I was disappointed with "Mercy." Certainly not much improvement there. I did purchase "Killjoy," because my loyal fan status dies hard, and I was ever the optimist.
The characters in Killjoy are cardboard caricatures, not believable at all. The heroine, Avery Delaney is just too naive - too cutesy, to be as intelligent, creative, and brave as she is supposed to be. How did this woman ever get a job as a crime analyst with the FBI? Her mother, Jilly, the Bad Seed, is like a villain from a comic book - no redeeming traits. She isn't even gifted with the sly intelligence sometimes present in psychopaths. The hero is flatter than two day-old seltzer. Yes, he's handsome, (according to Ms. Garwood), but has little else going for him. The plot is trite. There is nothing new here. The evil ones are not even scary! And the dialogue, especially between hero and heroine, is inane, to say the least.
I think this is the last time I will spend my money on a Julie Garwood book, at least not while she is in a slump. It's a shame! I write this review with no great satisfaction. I only hope to save fellow customers some time and money.
on July 23, 2003
Between the explosions and one-liners and the butt-kicking heroine, I realized very soon while reading "Killjoy" why it seemed familiar: It's a classic summer action flick in a book form.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. "Killjoy" is a nice ride, and you like most of the main characters, especially Avery Delaney, the wisecracking heroine. Vaguely-Cajun hunk John Paul Renard as the love interest/partner in justice was also just fine.
My main problem is with the highly one-dimensional, sometimes terribly stereotypical supporting characters. From a convenience store clerk and his wife that screamed "Deliverance" to the cookie-cutter psychopathic mother (Jilly) who was a heck of a lot better at seducing criminal men than being a one herself, most of the characters besides our dynamic duo just didn't do much for me.
I understand why Garwood resorted to a more stamped-out cast than usual. The plot is absolutely the star of this show -- even more than Avery and John Paul. But I still miss her rich supporting characters. Two other problems that I will not explain for the sake of not spoiling potential readers:
I wanted to know what Anne's letter said.
I wanted more face-to-face interaction between Jilly and Avery.
This book is great summer reading. It's certainly a bit short on the consuming romance classic Garwood fans normally expect, but if you like action-adventure stories too, that more than makes up for it.
on June 29, 2003
Avery Delaney has always tried to put the past far behind her. Unwanted by her schizo,conniving so-called mother when she was three days old, she was raised by her grandmother and Aunt Carrie. When she was eleven, she witnessed her grandmother's horrific death, before Avery herself was shot and left for dead.Miraculously, she survived. The man who did this is serving time in a Florida prison. This experience propels Avery into a life of law and order.
Her razor-sharp mind and ability to gather data and decipher evidence has made Avery an expert in crime solving for the FBI. But soon, she is in danger, and will have to use every one of her skills in a case that hits close to home. And very painfully.
Avery's workaholic aunt, Carolyn Salvetti, was sent a gold embossed reservation to a fancy spa in Utopia, in the mountains of Colorado. She figures it will be a welcome respite from the advertising business, not to mention a networking extravaganza. Then she persuades Avery to join her for the two weeks of luxury and decadence.
But this vacation never happens. Jilly, the crazy sister is out there pulling some very cruel and murderous pranks. Just wait until you read.
on May 30, 2003
Like many other reviewers on here, I've been a long time fan of Ms. Garwood. Her historical romances are fun, warm, and loving. Once you read "The Secret" or "The Bride," you don't forget the characters.
Over the past three years, Ms. Garwood has gone away from this genre, and into suspence-romance. At first, I was excited. One of my favorite authors was branching out to find a larger audience. However, I bought her first novel "Heartbreaker" and was greatly disappointed. I wasn't going to give up on her though. I bought "Mercy" and thought, this was a little better. Finally, there's "Killjoy."
"Killjoy" is really a story about the heroine's mother, Jilly. This book should have been titled "Jilly's Revenge." The time and effort spent to her was vast, compared to that of the hero in the book. John Paul, who we first met in "Mercy," was not given fair justice in this book. His military background was not explained fully. We understand what initially drove him to move back home, but we don't understand why it took that last assignment to do so. Also, it is unclear how this individual "loner" guy falls in love with someone very opposite of himself.
Overall, "Killjoy" is an okay novel. It isn't the great Ms. Garwood we've had in the past. If you are just getting into Ms. Garwood, I would recommend her earlier work first. Start with "The Secret" and skip these contemporary novels.
on May 25, 2003
I love Julie Garwood's books ~~ always have and this one is no exeception to the rule. I have to admit that I am glad she is also writing suspense novels ~~ I am addicted to that genre and it's a thrill to have one of my favorite authors writing in that area of reading as well!
Killjoy is a suspenseful book about Avery, a FBI employee, who was supposed to have met up with her aunt in Aspen, Colorado for a couple weeks of relaxation time at a spa. Only her aunt never showed up there. Avery then joins John Paul, an ex-Marine who was searching for the hired assassin, Monk Edwards, to find her aunt and rescue her before she dies. The plot thickens and twists and turns ~~ and the person behind the plot is so sinister that even my breath is taken away. And I have read a lot of suspense books.
Garwood is a talented writer that knows how to hook her readers into her imagination ~~ and keeps them entertained and enthralled till the last page is turned. This book is no different. It is more violent than Mercy or Heartbreaker ~~ but still, I enjoy her writing and how she manages to keep the reader guessing the truth till the very end. This book is such a nice pace from the gloomy spring Ohio has been enduring ~~ it's a perfect book to while away a gloomy afternoon.
on December 20, 2002
Ms. Garwood first hooked me with her charming historical novels such as the Secret, and Saving Grace. She has since moved on to pen the Romantic Suspense and Killjoy is the third in a series that began with Heartbreaker, and then was followed by Mercy.
Killjoy is the story of Dr. Mike's (heroine in Mercy) bother John Paul. In this story the killer for hire Monk plays a large part in the story. You will remember him from Mercy as well. If you have not read the previous two books that is ok this story still manages to stand alone. This story is fast paced but it is more supsense and on the edge of your seat reading with a little romance on the side. This seems to be more of a mainstream novel then romance so fans of Ms. Garwood may be a little disappointed by this. I found that the lack of romance was not a bad thing and made the romance between John Paul and Avery more believable since they were not falling into bed right away. The story is well plotted and the character development is also well done. The secondary story and characters add to the telling of the story instead of detracting from it. All in all this is a very strong novel and worth the time it takes to read.