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on September 3, 2014
I have just discovered this author and have found this FBI series to be quite entertaining
I know she is more popular for her historical romances and some fans may be disappointed in this change in her genre. But here its 2014 and I'm reading this series that started in 2007 and it's very good and it makes me want to take a look at all her other books
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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.
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on August 23, 2002
Julie Garwood makes her first foray into the contemporary world. Only a few days ago did I stumble across "Mercy" her second contemp. book. I loved Mercy so much that I ran right out and bought "Heartbreaker". I am a prolific reader (7-8 romances/fiction a week) and I thought I would share what I got out of this book.
Short Synop:
Nick Buchanan is a member of an elite FBI division who specialize in finding children. After a particularly challenging case, where Nick kills the perp, he is ordered to take a vacation to try and avoid burning out. Right before he leaves he gets a call from his best friend, Father Tom Madden. "Heartbreaker," who tells him he is going to kill his sister Laurent, visited Father Tom in the confessional booth. He instructs Father Tom to call in Nick.
Nick of course rides to the rescue and the story progresses on with Nick and Laurent falling in love, trying to outsmart the killer and still save the town square from development.
Having read this book second, I did notice a couple of things that put me off. Between this book and Mercy, she used quite a few phrases exactly the same in both books, which took me out of the story since they jumped out at me.
Other than that, this was a very good first book. Nick and Laurent's characters were well done and believable, as was the story line. I love novels about the FBI, CIA, policeman etc and this was pretty well written. I wasn't even sure who the killer was until Ms. Garwood revealed it. I'm usually hard to stump.
I think some of the secondary stories made this book a little more full, than it should have been. I would like to have seen more interaction between Laurent and Nick so that the "falling in love" part didn't seem so rushed, but other than that this was a well-done book. I gave it 3 stars since I think there is room for improvement (which I saw in Mercy which I gave 4 stars).
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on June 8, 2002
This novel is basically a romance with an ok suspenseful plot. The story begins when Tommy Madden, a priest in a tiny town in Iowa, heard a chilling confession of a cold-hearted killer about his past murder and his future plan to kill other women. In fact, the next target will be the priest's own sister, Laurent. Tommy requests help from his best friend Nick Buchanan. Nick is an FBI agent in a special team that handles missing children cases. He is quick witted and has a good sense of intuition that usually lead to the break in a case. After a particularly stressful case in which he killed the kidnapper and saved the child, his team leader tells him to take a much needed vacation. Nick rushes to Tommy's aid upon hearing the news. Tommy and Laurent's parents died when they were very young. They were raised separately. Tommy grew up in the US with the Buchanan family. Laurent was raised by her grandfather and attended boarding school in Switzerland. Therefore, Nick had never met Laurent before. There was mutual attraction from the first time they met. To protect Laurent, Nick posed as her fiance. During this masquerade, Nick and Laurent fell in love. When Nick is still trying resist his feelings for Laurent (since she's his best friend's sister), the killer's plan to kill Laurent is put into action.
I really loved the hero Nick. Besides being handsome and being FBI, which is a well respected occupation filled with some mystery and adventure, he is also vulnerable in his phobia. Nick is terrified of taking flights, which I think should be funny, but very real now especially after 9/11. This makes him very human. There was some comic relief when people teased him about this too.
Another character that deserves mention here is Noah Clayborne. He's also an FBI agent that works with Nick. He's a ladies man, charismatic, and funny. His parts in the story are always light and with humor, especially when he flirts with the women during his undercover as a priest! I really hope the author will write more about him in her future novels.
Overall good read! Highly recommended!
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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.
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on November 20, 2001
First of all, I'd like to say that I am not trashing Julie Garwood. I just am not sure she should be writing suspense. This was all together a too delicate, almost squeamish handling of the "serial killer" angle. If Ms. Garwood was reluctant to handle the gore, then she should have picked a different type of killer. This is a dainty book, better suited to Victorian mystery than modern suspense/thrillers.
I'm afraid that the character's relationships suffered from the lack of actual tension. Nick and Laurent never seemed to me to be real characters, and their romance was wishy-wash at best. She lacked strength, conviction, and background information. As a counterpart, Nick was a little better, but there was still that lack of a strong past. It was hinted at, but never seemed to play a role in his life, and made me feel as if I was missing a previous book that explained some of these details. Tommy was intereresting, but he seemed to fade into the background as the romance started taking shape, and I don't think he ever recovered his initial strength as a character. I did like Noah, and I would like to see him in his own book. All of the characters seemed very static and flat, and the dialogue lacked snap and sizzle. All in all, if you can find it used, and have plenty of spare time, do read this one. If not, skip it and stick with Garwood's historicals.
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on October 12, 2001
I've read many of Julie Garwood's historical (medieval) books and enjoyed them - but they were very lightweight fare, great for a quick read. The subplots were always rather thin, with the romantic story holding the book together. Heartbreaker is the first contemporary book of Garwood's that I've read (and for all I know, her first contemporary book) and it's pretty darn good. As with her historical romances, she develops characters that are compelling - flawed, but lovable. And, as always, her male supporting characters are strong and move the story along (she doesn't do so well with female supporting characters, I might add). My gripe with Garwood has been that her dialog is occasionally insipid and flat, but there's some improvement here. (*Hint - her dialog gets much better in the sequel to this book, Mercy.) The good news? She does write a top notch mystery/suspense! This story moves along and keeps you guessing - it's really very good. I'll be honest - early on I thought I figured out who the killer was, but then she threw me off the trail - I won't reveal who it finally was, though. The action and pace were fabulous - although I'm not sure how accurate all the FBI stuff was (I'm not usually a suspense thriller reader) but it seemed plausible. Final verdict - read it, and then grab Mercy to continue the story of the wonderful Buchanan brothers.
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on September 26, 2001
This is the first time I can recall Julie Garwood writing a suspenseful novel ~~ and since I love reading her romance novels, I thought I'd give this a try. And I have to say, she is a talented lady! She writes beautifully and cleanly as she did with her romance novels, maybe even better.
Laurant is the target of a stalker who threatened to kill her to her brother, Tom, a priest who heard the killer "confess" during a confession. Tom gets his best friend, Nick Buchanan from the FBI on the case to protect Laurant. And this is just the beginning of a fun novel with twists and turns of a murder case going awry.
It is a quick and easy read. Like her other novels, Julie Garwood keeps the reader enthralled to the last page ~~ keeping her on her toes while she's guessing who the murderer is. If you're looking for a quick weekend read, be sure to pick this one up after locking all the doors and leaving the lights on ~~ and be sure to tell the hubby and kids to go away so you can sink into her novel without any interruptions! It is just a perfect weekend read!
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on September 20, 2001
This is my very first Garwood book and I must say...WOW are the only words that can describe this well written book. I am in awe of her talent. I am normally not a fan of contemporary romance, but this book definately changed my views on that. This is a perfect mix of romance and suspense, my two favortites types of books all rolled into one masterpiece! This will have you guessing who the "Heartbreaker" is until the very end! Nick Bucchanan, (the lead male)the FBI agent that is summoned to protect the lead female, Laurant and her brother a priest, from a madman bent on stalking and killing Laurant. Father Tom is listening to confessions one afternoon when a deranged man threatens his sister's life and then leaves without a trace. Tom calls on his best friend and FBI agent Nick to help. Soon Nick realizes they are not dealing with a simple case of obsession, but a serial killer who wants to stalk and mutilate Laurant. Things soon heat up as Nick is to be with her 24 hrs a day in a little town in Iowa called Holy Oaks, where everyone knows one another and their business, but is the killer amoung them? They soon find they are falling in love with one another as they are forced to spend more and more time together to keep Laurant safe, but IS she really safer in Nick's arms than if she wasn't? Its a fast-paced thriller/romance that keeps you guessing who-dunnit until you think you've figured it out and to find that you've no idea! The tension between Nick and Laurant is real and you feel for them and find yourself hoping they survive. Heartbreaker is a sure pleaser and I highly recommend it! The follow-up story to this is Mercy...
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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.
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