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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cowboy Alibi by Paula Graves

Cowboy Alibi by Paula Graves
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (224 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Poppy

For months, cop Joe Garrison had followed every lead to find the woman he held responsible for his brother's death. Now, as he finally stood face-to-face with her, he knew justice would have to wait. It seemed the woman who conjured up memories within him both painful and passionate had recently lost her own.

Torn between believing she had amnesia and turning her in, the tough lawman had his answer when the true killer surfaced. On the run, desperate for the truth, Joe gave in to his passions. He wanted to show this woman, who had no recollection of the past they'd shared, a future could be possible. If only danger didn't intervene….

Looking for a little edge-of-your seat excitement? Cowboy Alibi is the place to start. I spent nearly this entire book wondering how the bad guy could always be one step ahead of our hero and heroine – and that was enough to keep me turning pages, even if I hadn’t been wrapped up in the plot and romance already.

Wyoming cop Joe Garrison travels outside his jurisdiction to track down the woman he thinks is responsible for the death of his brother. What he finds is a woman who claims she has no recollection of the past and, in fact, goes by the name Jane Doe. He’s not sure he believes her; he’s trusted her before and been betrayed. But then the killer strikes again and shows that he’s after her as well, leaving Joe no choice but to protect her until they can find the real culprit.

Paula Graves is one of my favorite romantic suspense authors because she consistently writes a thrilling, sexy, solid book. From the moment this book starts, to the final page, she kept my heart pounding with fear over the protagonists. It seemed as though, no matter what they did or where they went, they couldn’t find a safe spot to just relax for any length of time. Jane struggles to regain her memory, which begins to return in pieces immediately following her run-in with the killer and subsequent time spent with Joe as they try to find out who is after Jane and who killed Joe’s brother, Tommy.

It was agonizing to watch Joe’s confusion over his conflicting feelings for Jane. On the one hand, he’s not certain she’s entirely innocent, but on the other he still has loving feelings toward the woman she was when he knew her before. Should he trust her or not? The feelings he has for his brother war over his feelings for her, and he worries that trusting her will be a betrayal to his murdered brother.

Jane was a strong character, if occasionally inconsistent. One of the reasons this isn’t a solid five book review is because of one instance of TSTL (“too stupid to live”) behavior on her part near the end, where she does something so obviously dangerous in my opinion, that she might as well have pasted a target to her back and called out the killer’s name. Also, I wasn’t entirely sold on the reason for her amnesia, but if she’d had her memory the book wouldn’t have existed, so I suspended my disbelief for the most part (it helps that the reason for her memory loss isn’t revealed until near the end, and even then it’s only hinted at and then somewhat ambiguously).

Still, the fact that the killer always seemed on step ahead, and that Jane and Joe were constantly in danger kept me on the edge of my seat. The writing is solid, the characters well fleshed out and romance was tingly hot. Cowboy Alibi has earned a spot on my keeper shelf, next to my other Paula Graves books, and I look forward to continuing my love affair with her stories.