The Carriage House

Just Before Sunrise

Kiss the Moon

Night Scents

On Fire

A Rare Chance

The Waterfall

White Hot

 
The Cabin by Carla Neggers
(Mira, $6.50, PG) ISBN 1-55166-845-9
***
The Cabin is the sequel to The Carriage House and like its predecessor, contained plot elements that, quite frankly, made no sense to me whatsoever.

Susanna and Jack Galway have been married for twenty years and things have become increasingly strained. Fourteen months ago, Susanna moved their two teenage daughters, Maggie and Ellen, from the family home in San Antonio to her grandmotherís home in Somerville, a suburb of Boston.

Susanna is an exceptionally talented financial planner and has opened an office in Boston (which she shares with the heroine of the previous book). Susanna is so accomplished in her field that she has managed to amass a personal fortune somewhere in the neighborhood of ten million dollars. A fact that she is afraid to share with Jack because sheís sure he wonít be pleased.

Now I donít know about you, but if I was savvy enough to accumulate even a fraction of that kind of wealth, I imagine the last thing my husband would be is upset. But this is just the start of the secrets Susanna has been keeping from Jack. Itís Jackís job thatís the crux of the problem. Jack is a Texas Ranger and a case that heís been working on got a little too close to home.

Jackís been trying to prove prominent real estate developer Beau McGarrity murdered his wife, Rachel. A task made all the more difficult when local law enforcement office, Alice Parker, contaminated the crime scene. While Jack was preoccupied with the investigation, McGarrity sneaks into the Galwayís kitchen and tries to convince Susanna to intervene on his behalf. Instead of doing the logical thing, like informing her Ranger husband, a frightened Susanna packs up her daughters and leaves for Boston.

But Susanna is resourceful enough to make a tape of the conversation, but instead of giving it to Jack, she hands it off to officer Alice Parker. Alice winds up in jail for contaminating the crime scene and the tape remains hidden until her release. Now Alice is using the tape as a bargaining tool, demanding $50,000 from Beau McGarrity.

When it becomes evident both Alice and Beau have followed Susanna and the girls to Boston, they flee to an isolated cabin Susanna has recently purchased in the Adirondacks. With Jack following closely behind. While confined to the cabin, Susanna and Jack are able to finally address the problems that plagued their marriage.

I was never satisfied with Susannaís reasons for keeping her actions secret from Jack. Itís abundantly clear Jack is more than capable of handling the situation. Heís smart, tough (with an endearing soft spot for the women in his life) and sexy. But heís as much to blame as Susanna for the mess their marriage had become since he knew her secrets all along. He simply decided it was up to Susanna to share them.

I think all of this would have made much more sense had the author expanded upon several points that were briefly mentioned. For instance, during the McGarrity investigation, Jack had been retreating from the family. He was consumed with the investigation and was not available when his family needed him.

Also, it was touched on that Susanna was afraid that the dangers of Jackís profession would affect her and their daughters. I could accept both of these elements as reasons for their marriage difficulties and would have liked to have seen them explored a bit more. But there seemed to be too much going on, particularly with the suspense elements, to fully focus on the relationship.

While The Cabin is not one of my favorites by Carla Neggers, there is an intriguing secondary character, Ranger Sam Temple, who steals every scene in which he appears. Set this man up with a level-headed, logical heroine and that will be a story I canít wait to read.

--Karen Lynch


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