Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Don't Know If I Want Your Help . . . "Colby Law" by Debra Webb

To solve the most heinous murder in Texas history, Colby investigator Lyle McCaleb has an unusual mission: find and protect the killer's long-lost daughter. The complication: she's tough, gorgeous rancher Sadie Gilmore—Lyle's first and only love. And now the mysterious past she barely remembers is threatening her very existence.

Lyle regrets leaving Sadie broken-hearted seven years ago. And as he investigates and gets deeper into danger, he finds it almost impossible to maintain his professionalism around her. But another dilemma threatens their newly rekindled relationship. Can Lyle regain Sadie's trust while concealing the secret that may devastate her?

According to the publisher's blurb, this is the 48th book in the Colby Agency series, and while this is the first book in that series that I have read, I had no difficulty making heads or tails of the story.  It was kind of a reminder of some of the really awful serial killers in recent years--John Wayne Gayce or the buy in Wisconsin or the one from Seattle--the Green River Killer--all are terrible and that was the sense I had about Sadie's father, a man who was on Death Row and who was seeking to gain some favor from the Colby Agency investigator.  As if that weren't bad enough, the killer's wife, also accused of the murders, has now been released and she is sort of a loose cannon in the story.  All the way through the reader is not really given any help in deciding if she is one of the good guys or indeed one of the killers who has just managed to escape prosecution.

Anyway, this is a very well-written story, one that is full of the tension that goes with a very good murder mystery as well as lots of sexual tension.  There is tension between Sadie and her adoptive father, a man who wants to control her and whose control she battles every step of the way.  The old wounds of Lyle's defection seven years earlier are still very raw, and so there is a great deal of upset and people rubbing each other the wrong way present in this story.  But it is not the kind of adversarial wrangling that drives me crazy in some romance novels.  All of the tension here is such that it all  makes sense and as the story progresses, there are patches of relief--sort of light in a dark sky, and even amid their working to get past the hurts of the past, Lyle and Sadie find some common ground that makes his presence as her protector slightly more tolerable.

Throughout this story, however, there is that current of on-going evil, sort of the ripple effect that the evil perpetrated by these serial killers continues to invade the lives of Sadie and others in the story.  And the sadness for me is that no matter how hard the innocent try to get away from the evils pushed off on them, it just keeps rearing its ugly presence.  And make no mistake:  there are innocents here who didn't even know about the crimes when they were committed.  

This is released in the Harlequin Intrigue imprint, and while lots of folks still have a bit of prejudice of the Harlequin books -- left, no doubt, because of the cookie cutter novels that were published in the past, still this is a very compelling work and one that is truly readable and which has lots of twists and turns.  It was a very good reading experience, and for those who like some mystery mixed in with the romance, this will do it for you.  I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

This novel was released by Harlequin Intrigue in May, 2012.

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