A Bride for McCain

The Colorado Bride

In Dark Waters

The Lightkeeper's Woman

The Perfect Wife

Rafferty's Bride

The Unexpected Wife
Wise Moves

Cold Case Cop
by Mary Burton
(SRS # 1498, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27568-7
Detective Alex Kirkland has not been assigned to a cold case cop position, but is thrust there by Boston newspaper reporter Tara Mackey. The year anniversary of the unsolved murder of socialite Kit Westgate Landover is looming and Tara is preparing to do a big splashy article about it. She appears in Alex's office to warn him it is coming and to entreat him to reopen the case.

The case was unusual in that Kitís body was never found, except for some five pints of her blood splattered throughout the estate greenhouse. She had been in her wedding gown, which had been sewn with $100,000 dollars worth of pearls. Subsequently, the tattered dress was found on the banks of a river without the pearls, and the alleged $15 million dollars in diamonds she was wearing at the time had never been recovered either.

Alex is of manor born, well educated with a law degree but had turned to law enforcement when his cousin was killed. His family, with the exception of his grandmother Gertie, is very unhappy about his choice of career, but he still moves within the circles of the very wealthy. Tara, on the other hand, had been royally stiffed by the very wealthy and now has an incredible aversion to "doing rich people." Her mother died in a car accident at an early age, her father refused custody and her Aunt Roxie stepped forward to rear her. Roxie owns a tavern, and Tara still works there nights still to help her aunt out.

Tara starts making the rounds to stir the pot and Alex remembers he had not discussed with his formidable grandmother the yacht club gossip about the deceased. He heads there and runs into his ex-wife who had made the mistake of saying choose me or choose a career as a cop. She drops a puzzling bit of information that someone had heard the usually sophisticated Kit argue as a "commoner" with someone in the yacht club restroom about someone named Brenda.

One day in the week that Tara's editor has given her to put this story together, she is mailed a packet with the file of Brenda Latimer, by an anonymous donor. Latimer has a criminal record as a grifter and prostitute. The remarkable resemblance to Kit hits Tara immediately. Tara is later is in a car accident when she is run off the turnpike. She is taken to the emergency room. Alex hears about the accident and shows up to take her home.

What has been reticence on Tara's part to acknowledge her attraction to Alex is overcome by his unexpected kindness, and at this point Alex's protective nature surfaces. From this point the reader knows a romance will blossom as they begin to work together.

The characters are interesting and although they have their prior problems, which make them what they are, the story is not over laden with their angst, a refreshing change. The plot is certainly far more original than most in this Silhouette series, with an unexpected twist at the end.

The tension between the characters is well portrayed and the reader experiences the gradual softening of the harsh edges experience has given to Tara. The mounting suspense is artfully crafted, although the resolution is somewhat rushed or contrived. For Silhouette, author Mary Burton is definitely a keeper.

--Thea Davis

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