Most helpful critical review
"Heart Pounding" beginning and great ending, but drags in the middle.
on February 23, 2009
In the sweltering heat, Father Tom is in the confessional, doing his duty. But today will be a different sort of day, for a murderer will enter the confessional and ask for absolution for a sin he is going to commit. But what scares him the most: this murderer plans on killing his sister, Laurant.
When Laurant doesn't hear from her brother, she becomes concerned, scared even, and heads to Kansas to see him, fearing that his latest test results confirmed that the cancer was back and he was having chemotherapy treatments. When she gets there, she's happy that the cancer has not returned, but her world is still torn upside down, for a murderer wants her, and for the kindhearted woman she is, she doesn't understand how she can be the target of a madman.
Nick Buchanan, an FBI agent and Father Tom's best friend since they were kids, is supposed to be on vacation, but the second he hears from Tom, he heads straight to Kansas and vows to protect Tom's sister. When Laurant suggests using herself as bait, Nick argues: he doesn't want here anywhere near Holy Oaks. But the rest of the team, including Laurant, disagrees with him, for if Laurant was to run and hide, how long would she be constantly looking over her shoulder. She won't allow it, and takes the decision out of his hands when the killer calls, taunting them all.
When a suspect is eventually caught, Nick can't believe it. Are his instincts out of whack? Could it be that he really is tired and due for a vacation, to recharge, to get himself back in the game? For his instincts are screaming that it's not right: that the whole thing was just too easy. And even while everyone is assuring him that the evidence is building against this suspect, that they have their man, Nick believes they're wrong. Question is, if they are, will Nick still be able to save Laurant?
**I really liked the beginning. The killer, his whispers, his words, gave me the chills. I'm sure I'd have reacted the same as Father Tom had. And I liked Tom. A very down-to-earth priest, he's kind, selfless, never shirking his duty no matter how much he wishes he could.
Nick, strong, selfless, he's also very determined. Even when he tries to keep Laurant at arm's length, she still managed to get under his skin.
Laurant, a strong female character. She cares, almost to a fault, about everyone around her. Strong, kind, she helps in anyway she can. Egging the murderer on might not be a very bright idea, but as unselfish as she is, she's not thinking about herself - she's thinking about the women out there that could end up substituting her until the murderer gets his hands on her, and she can't accept that.
I liked the mystery, and what action there was, was terrific, especially the climax of the story. When the suspect is arrested, I believed as Nick did - it had been too easy. No mystery I've ever read had ever been that easy. What bugged me a little was that the middle of the story seemed to lag - it was almost like this could have been a 250 page Harlequin romantic-suspense novel - the center seemed like "filler". Stuff that happens that really didn't need to happen. And most of it was all talk. Had there been more attacks of some sort, more action, I think the story would have been a lot better. But for what there was, it was good. I think, LOL, my favourite part was, knowing how very much Nick hated to fly, he flew over an ocean to get Laurant back. Very sweet ending.