February 17, 2013

Review: It's To Die For

To Die For
Blair Mallory, Book 1
Linda Howard
Published 2004
Mass Market Paperback, Piatkus, 378p.
ISBN: 0749935294

After a painful divorce, Blair Mallory follows a dream and opens a health club.  But Nicole Goodwin, a troubled member of the club, develops a strange fixation on Blair, imitating her style and dress, even the car she drives.  Then Nicole is gunned down in the club's parking lot.  And Blair is the only witness to the murder...
At first the police investigation concentratres on Nicole and her acquaintances, but then someone tampers with Blair's car, and sabotages her home and business.  The police - including Blair's old flame Lieutenant Wyatt Bloodsworth - are baffled because these attempts, while serious, are very different in tone from Nicole's murder.  Is Nicole's killer seeking to remove a troublesome witness?  Or was Blair the intended victim after all?
Hi there!  As promised I'm starting to post my thoughts on the books that I've recently devoured as part of my week long book marathon.  To Die For by Linda Howard was a real surprise for me as I'd only read her wonderful Mackenzie's series, or a historical romance.  So when I picked it up I was a little dubious as I either love it or I don't when it comes to Linda Howard.  Thankfully in this case I loved it.
This is the first of two books - Drop Dead Gorgeous being the sequel - and I just couldn't put it down.  In To Die For we are introduced to our protagonist, Blair Mallory.  An independant woman who knows what she wants in life.  As former cheerleader turned successful gym owner, Blair may look like a fluffy and ditzy blonde, but she's got the instincts of a barracuda.  So when Nicole, the copycat, gets dumped from the gym, Blair is delighted.  The copycat psycho is finally out of her life... until closing time that is.  As Blair closes up for the night she sees Nicole and an unknown male waiting for her in the shadows.  When she hears a gun shot and hits the ground, Blair is sure that her life is in danger.  After the police arrive, it is discovered that Nicole is dead.  Could her night get any worse? ... Yep.  
Enter Wyatt Bloodsworth, now a Lieutenant with the local police force. A big man with a forceful personality, he's also the guy who had dumped her 2 years ago - after just 3 dates.  Now he's back.  And much to Blair's annoyance, seems determined to muscle his way back into her life and her bed.  If he can keep her alive long enough to solve the case that is.
Blair is such a fun character great fun character.  The book is told from her POV, but I do like the interaction she has with the reader.  Blair and Wyatt have major chemistry (OMG, you could power a small town on the electricity they produce!), and I love the way that Ms. Howard has Blair writing down lists of Wyatt's misdemeanours for him to read.  It's such a novel idea... I may have to try it one of these days.

My only problem with the book was Bloodsworth's constant ability to get the better of Blair.  I know a strong male lead was called for when there is such a strong female character, but her inability to pull him up short when he needs it is a bit frustrating.  Having said that, Wyatt is a great character who is loving and protective of Blair.  He's a guy who knows what he wants and makes it happen.  I know that's a bit of a circular arguement, but tough ;-D

Blair's family are wonderfully vivid.  My take on her mother is just stand back.  She's one scarily together and practical lady.  Her sisters are very loving and protective, and I love Siana with her dimples.  The idenity of the Blair's attacker is a real surprise.  It crossed my mind for like 2 seconds, but I dismissed it because I didn't see the connection.  When it's all explained it does make sense.

For those of you who don't like very graphic books rest easy.  There is little actual violence in this book, no real swearing and no graphic sex scenes - which I found quite refreshing.  I'd recommend you put this book aside until you have time to read it all the way through as it would be such a hard job to put it down. 

So if you like a good murder mystery, romance or books by Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, etc., then this is a good book to add to your collection.  I have already ordered Drop Dead Gorgeous so will post an update ASAP. 

I give this book

Happy reading!

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