Make Me Over

Night Whispers

Relentless

Suite Seduction

Trick Me, Trick Me

Two To Tangle

Wicked and Willing

 
She's Got the Look
by Leslie Kelly
(HQN, $6.99, R) ISBN 0-373-77058-8
****
On the eve of her marriage, Melody Tanner's girlfriends encourage her to draw up a Men Most Wanted list, or the five men she would most like to sleep with. Now, several years later, her marriage over and almost all of her savings from her years as a model awarded as alimony payments to her two-timing husband, she is in Savannah trying to make a living as a photographer. Two of the five men are dead; the other three live in the same city; she still finds one of them really hot.

Nick Walker is a former war hero, who had his five minutes in the limelight when, after rescuing children in Kosovo, his face was splashed everywhere. Now, he works as a homicide detective for the Savannah police department (and really hates any mention of That Other Murder Case). Though he doesn't quite believe Melody when she claims that two recent deaths may somehow be related to the list she drew up six years ago, he is rather flattered to find out that he was her number one. After all, as a lingerie model, she had figured fairly prominently in his fantasies.

Despite their mutual attraction, Melody's and Nick's first real meeting doesn't end too well. She finds him a bit too self-assured, and he is uncertain about pursuing someone who has such an overactive imagination. But when she begins to get disturbing phone calls, she turns to him for help. He very generously spends the night in his car, keeping an eye on her apartment. Then, when another man on her list is found dead in her underwear, and infamous lingerie she once modeled goes missing, he begins to take her worries about her Most Wanted list more seriously.

Sexy but sensitive, cocky but caring, Nick is an alpha male with a strong dose of beta humor. He is a good match for Melody, whose past as a child model and as a trophy wife has left a strong dent in her self-esteem. Set on finally living in her own terms, she wonders whether anyone will ever love the real her. Both are intelligent enough to know that even the best fantasies require some work as well as a great deal of mutual respect and consideration to become the real thing. Watching them undergo this process and engage in the full range of romantic interaction from red-hot attraction to teasing banter to genuine friendship and finally to a healthy mixture of love and lust is entertaining and surprisingly heart-warming.

While Melody and Nick are getting to know each other, her best friend Rosemary and his partner Dex are working through issues in their unlikely romance. I am glad to say these complications are resolved intelligently and realistically but without any serious loss of humor.

She's Got the Look is outstanding in the romance and friendship compartment, but it is less convincing in the mystery and suspense one. Nick doesn't behave in the most professional manner: it never occurs to him or his associates that it might not be a good idea to have a relationship with a woman who is so closely connected to his murder investigation. I also found the resolution to the mystery not entirely satisfactory. The coincidences between the different murders are dispensed with very quickly, turning what was pushed as a serial murder into something rather different. And although some may not immediately recognize the guilty party, the few red herrings are too obvious to be taken seriously.

But despite these shortcoming, those who are after Leslie Kelly's trademark humor; sassy, independent heroines and good-hearted bad boys will not be disappointed and will certainly be back for more.

--Mary Benn


@ Please tell us what you think! back Back Home