Harte's Gold

Her Mysterious Houseguest

Wild Mustang

Detective Daddy by Jane Toombs
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1602, $4.75, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-24602-1

Detective Daddy is a heartwarming story that will make you smile. There isnít much action to it, and it bogs down a little in the middle, but true love prevails in the end.

Dan Sorenson is an undercover detective recuperating from a gunshot wound in his familyís cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A quick-moving snowstorm is raging and he is feeling restless. He turns on the porch light out of habit. That light is the saving grace for pregnant and lost Fay Merriweather. On her way to her auntís house in Duluth, she gets disoriented, crashes her truck and is now wandering around trying to find shelter. She is also in labor.

Dan helps her deliver a beautiful little girl, whom Fay names Danielle Marie. They get to know each other as Dan cares for them both. But Fay gets ill with anemia and the convalescence extends for several weeks. They discover they both live in Archer, a town north of Lansing. And they decide to see where this relationship can go, but both have baggage.

Dan was married once and his wife left because of his uncertain schedule and her worry. He has seen it all and has vowed not to have children due to the state of the world. Fay is a go-getter. She was raised by both parents, but her deceased mother instilled in her a sense that she must constantly strive to get ahead and be the best. Her father, meanwhile, seems satisfied that he is a foreman in a factory. Fay also is getting over the loss of the babyís father. They were engaged, but Fay realized that Ken was not the man for her Ė then he got himself killed in an accident and now she feels guilty for something.

While the story shows the budding relationship between Dan and Fay, these two must struggle with their demons. Unfortunately, they are inner demons and there isnít much action going on while they come to grips with their love for each other and their love for the baby. Much of the middle part of the story relates how Fay figures out childcare when she returns to work and waits for Dan to call her. He is working on a big case, and is unable to even phone. This type of activity is real life, but it is not the thing that keeps a reader in her seat, turning the pages with anticipation.

Meanwhile, there is a little subplot about Fayís dad and his new girlfriend. Fay must come to grips with his new relationship, just like many adult children. While enjoyable, there is nothing gripping here.

Both Fay and Dan are nice people and they act naturally in trying to accept their love. The lovemaking scenes are romantic and show their burgeoning feelings clearly. Itís nice. And that description is what I call a classic three heart review.

Detective Daddy is a pleasant reading experience, and heartwarming in tone. The characters are people you want to get to know, but they are not necessarily people you want to visit again.

--Shirley Lyons

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