Angus's Lost Lady

Expecting in Texas

A Forever Kind of Hero

Found: One Wife

A Hero for All Seasons

A Husband Waiting to Happen

In the Family Way

Traci on the Spot

Wife in the Mail

 
Heart of a Hero
by Marie Ferrarella
(Sil. Int. Moments, #1105, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-27175-1
***
Heart of A Hero is the newest installment of the Childfinders, Inc. miniseries. Childfinders is an organization dedicated to finding kidnapped or missing children. As Agent Rusty Andreini assures us, they have never failed in their attempt.

When widow Dakota Armstrong’s 2-year-old son Vinny is kidnapped, she has little reason to trust and a difficult time believing that vow. And she has a big reason to fear she may never get Vinny back. Rusty shows up, somewhat conveniently, and takes on her case. The search is on.

Along the journey, we get to know both characters. We learn how Rusty got involved in Childfinders, and get to see a multi-dimensional man who can be strong, sensitive, gentle, loving, sexy, and sensible. There is a scene where he helps a runaway that pinpoints his sensitive side, while the confrontation near the end shows his strong heroic side. Both glimpses of this man are believable and his sense of humor adds to his allure. I really liked him!

Dakota is on the run from the mob. She tries to be tough, but we see through this shell and empathize easily with her fears for her son. Dakota has a strong side that is less easily understood. The author goes into depth about her naiveté and vulnerability when she married and became pregnant. This is the same time her husband died and she stood up to her mobster father-in-law. This seems out of character for that time in her life. If that same scene had happened in the present after two years of hiding and running, it would be easy to believe she had forged her new resolve.

The romance is satisfying; we see Rusty recognize his feelings, and enjoy his attempts at helping Dakota realize hers, too. However, even in this, Dakota’s character doesn’t seem to follow any pattern. I never really had a sense I knew her, so I never really grew to like her. This gave me a lukewarm feeling towards wanting this romance to succeed. I felt like Rusty deserved better.

However, the major problem with book is the pace. The flow is uneven, making the book easy to put down and hard to pick up at times. The first half of the book tends to drag with all the background information. The suspense definitely picks up once the two travel to Las Vegas with events happening quickly. The twist to the kidnapping keeps the end from being predictable. However, just as the reader is enjoying it, everything is tied up leaving no time to savor the victory.

The glimpse of the other members of ChildFinders is intriguing enough to whet your appetite for their stories, without making you feel you missed a part of this story. Followers of the series should be satisfied, and newcomers may immediately feel the need to add to their to-be read piles.

Overall, Heart of A Hero leaves you with a warm feeling that Rusty does come through with his promise once again.

--Shirley Lyons


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