Tuesday, January 27, 2009

For The Love Of Pete - Julia Harper


For The Love Of Pete
Julia Harper
Grand Central/Forever

Contemporary Romance/Humor

Julia Harper writes amazingly deep and detailed historical romances (THE RAVEN PRINCE, THE LEOPARD PRINCE, THE SERPENT PRINCE) under the name of Elizabeth Hoyt. These books are full of well developed and believable characters and realistic situations. Her contemporaries – this is the second, following HOT – are much different. They’re silly, frothy fun. That’s not a bad thing at all; just something to consider, since reading enjoyment often varies with the reader’s mood and expectations.

Zoey Addler’s family situation is complicated, to say the least. Her sister’s boyfriend is (or, was) a bagman for the mob. Due to some unpleasantness, he agreed to testify against his boss in a federal trial. The couple, along with their baby daughter, Zoey’s niece, lives anonymously under constant FBI guard. While digging out a parking space in front of the apartment building, Zoey witnesses the abduction of the baby, Pete. The nearest person to her is a gorgeous guy in a BMW convertible, so she enlists her help.

FBI agent Dante Torelli was just arriving for his shift on guard duty when it all happened. The kidnapped baby, the gunfire, the hysterical woman leaping into his car, and the ensuing chase. The two chase the kidnapper’s car until, incredibly, he gets out at a gas station and two little old ladies in Indian saris steal the car. And the baby. The ladies have an agenda of their own; one that did not include a kidnapped baby. Imagine their surprise when they find two babies strapped in the back seat.

The rest of the novel is told from various points of view: that of Zoey, Dante, the Indian ladies, the kidnapper, the mob boss, and a few others. There’s a lot of chasing, a lot of confusion, double-crosses, and a lot of different plot threads. There’s not a whole lot of time to develop deep characters or create a realistic romance. But, really, that’s fine, because the whole thing is just so much fun. The book starts with the kidnapping and rarely slows down at all. It’s the kind of book you start, intending to read a few chapters, then look up to realize you’re halfway through it. For a light, fun, fast and frenzied read, you just can’t beat Julia Harper’s contemporaries.

Rating: 8
January 2009
ISBN# 0-446-61918-3 (paperback)

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