on November 10, 2000
I enjoyed Heartbreaker, however, I did not feel it was in "Julie Garwood Style". I am a diehard fan of Ms. Garwood's. I own all of her books, and have read each one at least four times. I also read contemporary romance, however. My first love, though, is Ms. Garwood's historical romance. The one thing about her books that I have always loved is my ability to feel a part of the characters, that is why I am able to read them over and over again. My heart is with Jamie and Alec first and foremost, and I was hoping to feel the same about her new novel. I wasn't able to make the connection though. I thoroughly enjoy Ms. Garwood's style of writing, and was somewhat disappointed to read Heartbreaker because it reads very much like a Mary Higgins Clark novel. Not that that is an insult, she also happens to be one of my favorites. However, I read Garwood novels, and always eagerly await the next novel because she makes the reader feel a part of the story. I have cried over many of her novels. I just didn't feel that way with this novel. I truly feel that Ms. Garwood's forte is in the historical romance department. I not only enjoy reading her historical fiction, but I have picked up many historical facts from her books, which is like an added bonus. My hope is to see another novel, or two, in the line of Jamie and Alec! They are by far the best couple Ms. Garwood wrote about, and that book, The Bride (for those who are not as familiar), has been read more than 15 times and is looking a little worse for the wear. Sincerely, A devoted fan
on June 21, 2000
A murderer goes to confession asking for absolution for a crime he is going to commit. He chillingly describes how he tortured and killed his last victim. He challenges the priest to notify the authorities. The priest refuses to knowing the he can't reveal what is said in confession. The killer plays mind games with the priest letting him know he has already selected his next victim. This killing will be better, after all, practice makes perfect. The killer is convinced no one can stop him. He wants a challenge. He tells the priest to call his FBI friend to come and take the next victim into hiding. The killer will either follow or look for a new victim. He describes his next victim in such terms that the priest is shocked to realize it is his sister.
The priest, Tommy Madden, panics and calls in his childhood friend to protect his sister. Nick Buchanan belongs to an elite division of the FBI. He works in a specialized division called the "lost and found." His talent is in tracking the most difficult cases involving lost and abducted children. He comes to his old friend's aid by promising to take care of Laurant Madden. Laurant Madden takes matters into her own hands. She refuses to hide and instead taunts the killer into striking out at her. The FBI agree with what she is doing and provide around the clock protection for her. There are several secondary story lines that are interesting to go along with the plot.
I have always admired Julie Garwood's writing style. She generally has strong, independent heroines and dashing, brooding heros. I was excited to see her switch over to suspense. The synopsis I read had me hooked on this book long before it came out. In fact, this book was advertised as being released in February, 2000, and was then pushed back. This should tell you how long I've waited for it. Was it worth the wait? No, not really.
For some reason this story doesn't work. It has its moments, some scary and some funny, but didn't captivate me like I expected which is why I gave it a 3. Laurant is not a believable character. She reminds me of those wimpy heroines from earlier romance novels in the 70s and 80s. Nick, who should have been a strong presence as the tortured FBI agent who has seen too much wasn't much better. I did enjoy the secondary story line with Father Tommy and Noah, the second FBI agent who helps Nick.
Read or buy this book at your own risk. When I see Ms. Garwood's name on a book, I expect more. I know it can't be easy switching styles of writng, but I expected better.
on September 5, 2001
"Heartbreaker" was mediocre, and drawn out. It started very slowly, and the author spent way too much time describing people, events and other details that end up being irrelevant to the plot.
There were quite a few superfluous characters. For example, the role of Pete could have been eliminated, as he's just an older non-priestly version of Tommy. And, the sub-plot involving Jules Wesson never really went anywhere and eventually just fizzled. What was the point of including Jules at all?
My final gripe is that, although FBI agents are a big part of the story, she never delves very deeply into the actual investigation. We're rarely told anything about suspects, clues, etc. She mentions an FBI profiler was working on the case, but we never find out anything about the results of his investigation, nor do we hear anything about the results of the crime scene investigation. This would have been interesting and would have at least given me, as a reader, clues to the ending.
Overall, I think the book lacked adequate depth, focus and direction. I'm disappointed, as I generally like Julie Garwood's books very much.
on September 12, 2000
Julie Garwood is by far my favorite author, and I have been a devoted fan from the first chapter of "The Bride." Unfortunately, I was not fully prepared for the turn her new book has taken. This book is not the type of thing I enjoy reading (particulary before bed), because to be honest it scared the heck out of me, and that's not what I'm looking for.
I take the blame for not taking the storyline more seriously, but truthfully, I thought the scary stuff would be secondary. It's not, and it's exactly the type of thing that young women fear.
My favorite qualities of Garwood's past work have always been her ability to tell the story through the woman's eyes. To show her heroines as bright and witty individuals. I do not think that this story, told from the omniscient perspective, achieves the same respect for and closeness with the heroine I have previously enjoyed.
My main point in writing this review (having never written one before) is simply to warn readers that this book may not be what you expect. So, double check before you lay down the money for the hardback copy. Personally, I'm hoping she goes back to historical romances. No one can write them like she does.
on March 7, 2001
I was really excited to read this book, and now that I have, I have to admit, it was a bit of a dull read. You don't really get to know any of the characters. Garwood uses a lot of words, but there is very little detail. Because of this, the novel proceeds extremely slowly. It goes a while into the story until the heroine, Laurant, finally appears. She is presented as being the typical female who has gotten used to hiding her feelings, but in this book she does it all too well. She shows very little emotion, even though she is the target of a madman, which results in this being very unbelievable. You're led to believe that Laurant is a strong, independent woman, but despite the many times that she says, "come and get me! i'm not scared!" she's extremely weak. She goes thru the entire book almost in a daze. Her house is burning down and she stops to pack!!!! She is just completely unbelievable as a woman in danger who is supposedly fighting back. As for Nick, at least you get a little bit of personality in him, not much, but more than Laurant. It was as if Garwood handed you the characters and expected you to fill them in. There was absolutely no connection between Nick and Laurant, no chemistry whatsoever. And I just had a hard time buying their "relationship." I find it hard to believe there was even like or lust involved. It was like, miraculously they decided they were right for each other! Where did that come from?? Anyways, Noah was cute. He was more entertaining than any of the main characters. But the novel moved way to slowly for a mystery novel and I found myself skipping over the pages to get to some action. At the end, I still had trouble figuring out who the "heartbreaker" was exactly.
on June 26, 2000
Julie Garwood is one of my all time favorite romance writers. She has become well known over the years as a great historical romance writer. "For the Roses" is one of my all-time favorite books. Like a lot of romance writers, she has made the shift towards a more sensational thriller. She has done a great job with this first thriller.
Tom, a priest, and Nick, a FBI agent, have been best friends since childhood. Tom's sister, Laurant, has remained in Europe throughout her childhood, never meeting Nick. During confession, Tom receives a disturbing threat against Laurant and unknown women. Naturally, Tom is terrified for his sister, and immediately calls Nick.
After all the years of hearing about each other, Nick and Laurant finally meet when Nick volunteers to watch over Laurant until the psycho suspect can be apprehended. Nick becomes beautiful Laurant's constant companion as they publicly act as an engaged couple to act as bait. They find each other very captivating; however, Nick thinks of his best friend's sister as off limits. Laurant, feels her brother/priest would disapprove. The forbidden proves to be a definite lure as the two find themselves falling for each other.
Julie Garwood brings to life wonderful characters. She also brings to life her Catholic faith in a realistic & touching manner. She describes Tom as Priest What a Waste! I loved the characters and the relationships explored in this book, as well as the intense suspenseful drama played out. It was not sugarcoated. The agents carry guns and break things, just as they should.
If you have been a fan of Julie Garwood, you will like this book. If you are not a fan of romances, but like a grittier book, you will like this book. I am glad to see Ms. Garwood branch out. She did a lot of research and preparation for this book and it all shows.
on June 21, 2000
Being an avid reader of Julie Garwood's books, I was absolutely thrilled to discover that she had written a new novel. Yes, we all know that Garwood can write wonderful historical romances, but could she do the same with a contemporary novel? After reading Heartbreaker, there is no doubt. Julie Garwood is the queen of romance and a master over the written word. The plot of her new book, Heartbreaker, does take a few chapters to unfold. But once it does, watch out! You'll find yourself drawn into the book faster than you can blink an eye. The characters, like in many of Garwood's novels, were very easy to like. The hero, Nick, was the possessive male with a "heartbreaking" smile and a knack for sarcastic humor. Laurant was of course an absolute beauty. And hurray to Garwood for countering that detail by giving her heroin a modest attitude and a witty retort for all those innocent jokes thrown her way. Accompanying the dynamic duo is Tommy, Laurant's brother, and Nick's FBI buddy Noah. Keep an eye on those two ladies. They're hilarious. All and all, I was most impressed. This book has got to be one of Garwood's finest. It contains all the parts that a good romance novel should: intriguing plot, captivating characters, and undeniable love. "Bravo, Julie!"
on December 31, 2001
I borrowed heartbreaker from the library when it first came out, and couldn't get past the first chapter. I bought the paperback when it was released in September and couldn't get past the first chapter. But I have been ill the last couple of days and really had a chance to sit down and read it last night and it is very enjoyable, albeit completely different from anything that I would expect from Julie Garwood, since it is a contemporary thriller.
Once I got over the fact that I was reading a Julie Garwood book, and chucked those expectations outside I really enjoyed the plot and Laurant and Nick were an appealing couple. My one real gripe about the book is that she named 3 important characters in the book four letter N names which were just unnecessarily confusing at first.
The secondary characters were all very engaging and I think that this first book was a set-up for a long running series of thrillers based on the group of special agents that Nick belongs to.
Overall it was a great book and I look forward to picking up Mercy - the next book in the series once it is released in paperback.
on July 14, 2000
I waited and waited...and waited some more (it seems like FOREVER) for this book to come out. It is a really good book and the characters were great. My only complaint would be that there was not enough interaction between the main love interests. There should have been more time between just the two of them, giving the reader the same feeling that these two people just HAVE to be together, as in Ms. Garwood's other novels.
This was a step in the right direction for Ms. Garwood. I have to say her last novel "The Wedding" just wasn't up to the greatness she is SOOOOOOOO capable of. Still, the thing about reading a Julie Garwood novel is that you know even her below-best is going to be good storytelling.
I would highly recommend this book.
And, once again I have to say that my only complaint would be that Ms. Garwood can't write fast enough for me. After waiting for more than a year for "Heartbreaker" to come out, and after having read it three times over (okay, maybe more...) now what am I supposed to do? :( FASTER, Ms. Garwood, FASTER! :)
on July 6, 2000
I have been waiting for this book to come out for a while now...ever since I read about it on the back cover of "Ransom". I went out on July 1st, bought it and then ran home and read it. This is not typical JG, But this is still a great book.. I dont agree that Laurant was weak.. If I was ever put in her position, I dont think I would be cool calm and collected either... My only criticisim about the book.. after we find out who the bad guy was, the ending feels rushed... It just kind of ends. I would like to have read more of Nick and Laurant... Like where did they end up living.. Holy Oaks? Boston? I guess she left the door of possibility open for her next book...Hmmm... Noah Clayborne? Yeah... I think so...JG wouldnt have used his name if there wasnt something in the mix for him.. He could have been Noah Smith.. No, I think.. hope.. that there will be a story about Noah.. This book was a good fast read.. one that I'll read again.. Its already making it's way around my office.. I think I should add.. I only read historicals.. no modern novels.. But when I found out Julie Garwood was doing one, I had to support her, and buy it.. i'm glad I did.. So, if you have any reservations about reading a modern romance..don't.. This book was great.. She will not let you down on this effort! I cant Tell you enough.. get this book... If you like Nora Roberts.. this is better than anything I've ever read by her! Buy the book!