To Trust A Cop
by Sharon Hartley
(Harl. Super #1876, $5.75, G) ISBN 978-0373-71876-4
***
A romantic suspense at its heart, this is the story of two people with major trust issues. Marlene Saunders is a private eye on a simple case of infidelity, or so it seemed. Mrs. Pat Johnson hired her to find out who her husband, Dr. Richard Johnson, is having an affair with. It could be his nurse Linda Cole or it could be someone else. But Pat is convinced her husband's nights away are not being spent on work.

It doesn't take long for things to get complicated. First, Detective Cody Warren approaches Marlene during a stakeout to warn her off, saying that Dr. Johnson is knee deep in illegal activity and her surveillance could impede a long running undercover operation. Then Dr. Johnson gets shot and killed at his home and Marlene gets a video of the two men who arrive at his home just prior to the shots. Now there are a whole lot of unanswered questions and Marlene is in danger, being either a witness that the bad guy wants to kill or to some, a suspect in collusion with the real murderer.

In actuality, Marlene is a woman who has never had it easy, from the time her drunk parents died, leaving herand her younger brother in foster care; to the time that brother was killed in a rebellious youth activity to the times as a child that Marlene was cold and hungry, often being the "adult" in her family that was amazingly dysfunctional. She hates cops and Cody raises her hackles even as he intrigues her as a woman.

Cody is a good cop and is determined to live down the stigma from his father, who turned bad in the waning years of his police career and ended up committing suicide in shame. Cody has never had anyone, other than his sister, stick by him during tough times. Many of Marlene's defense mechanisms seem to be indicative of her guilt...but he is wildly attracted to her and can't believe he would misjudge her so easily.

While I enjoyed the story, the many complications seemed to take a long time to develop, giving the feel that many of the "issues" between Cody and Marlene were rehashed and rehashed. They have a strong relationship that gets bogged down by their distrusting natures. This slowed the story down and kept it from a higher rating. Overall, however, is a pleasant story.

--Shirley Lyons


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