Dying to Have Her is the second of Heather Graham’s soap opera series. This was my first introduction to the cast of characters since I didn’t read the first book,Long, Lean and Lethal, the story of soap star Jennifer Connolly.
We’re back on the set of Valentine Valley, but this time the heroine is Jennifer’s best friend and fellow soap star, Serena McCormack. In fact, Jennifer is off on maternity leave and is being replaced by ambitious, self-centered Jane Dunne. Before we have a chance to say ‘chapter one,’ Jane ends up dead, hit by a falling overhead studio light. However, it soon becomes apparent that the falling light may not have been a tragic mishap and that it may be Serena, not Jane, who was the target of the ‘accident.’
Enter Liam Murphy; sexy ex-cop turned private eye, hired by the program executives to be Serena’s bodyguard. Serena is less than thrilled with Liam’s presence, not only because she’s not sure she needs a bodyguard, but also because Liam just happens to be her ex-boyfriend. He walked out on Serena and the police force at about the same time and Serena’s never quite gotten over him - nor has she forgiven him.
This is a quick, easy read. The suspense gets off to a fast start and there is enough action to keep things moving along most of the time. Liam and Serena are both likeable characters and as Graham reveals their past relationship and their current conflict, we get to know them better and root for them to make it.
Depending on what you like in a story, you may find this book leans more towards suspense than romance. I would have liked a bit more time spent with Liam and Serena as a couple. Some further explanation of their motivation for splitting would have given the resolution at the end more impact.
There are a lot of people in this book and at times it felt a little too much like a roll call from central casting - I couldn’t always remember who was who because there weren’t enough scenes with each character to differentiate them sufficiently. I kept having to flip backwards to remember who this or that person was. However, this may be no problem at all for readers who read the first book where many of the characters were introduced.
For suspense fans, there’s a lot of tension and a few good red herrings to keep you on your toes (although I did figure out one of the mysteries fairly early on, but maybe it’s because I’m such a die-hard mystery reader). If the characters occasionally slip into stereotypes I won’t quibble too much: there was enough in this book to entertain. Summer is almost here and I can easily recommend Dying to Have Her as a book to relax with by the beach, pool or barbeque.