BOOK REVIEW ~ HEARTBREAKER BY JULIE GARWOOD

BOOK REVIEW ~ HEARTBREAKER BY JULIE GARWOOD

In the still shadows of the confessional, the penitent kneels and makes a bone-chilling disclosure: Bless me father, for I will sin…. Slowly, tauntingly, the man describes his murderous past—how he stalked his victim, worked his way into her life, and then took that life in a violent rage—and his plan to kill again. Only this time, he has raised the stakes in his twisted game, daring authorities to catch him if they can. And this time, he has revealed the name of his next intended victim.
Agent Nick Buchanan has come face-to-face with society’s worst monsters and depraved minds in his work for one of the FBI’s most elite units, but The Heartbreaker threatens to hit close to home. The intended victim, Laurant Madden, is his best friend’s sister. Soon he is caught up in an intricate chase with one of the most devious psychopaths of his career. But as the danger grows, so does an electrifying attraction between Nick and Laurant. One false move will cost both of them everything that matters.

This poor book! I actually started it a week ago and had to pause twice and temporarily ditch it to get to other books, but the funny thing about it all is that I actually enjoyed this story more than the other ones I was desperate to get to. Ha! But that doesn’t surprise me much because every book I’ve read from Julie Garwood – both historical and contemporary – I’ve either liked or loved, and this book was no exception. I’ve read a couple of books in this series already, and compared to them this book isn’t my favorite, but it nevertheless delivered a chilling, unpredictable, and suspenseful storyline that had my attention. I was never bored that’s for sure!

Look out everyone – there’s a new serial killer in town and it’s the ‘Heartbreaker.’ From the start it’s clear this guy is demented and that no one or nothing can keep him from killing (and mutilating) victims again and again. In present day of the book, Heartbreaker confesses to a priest in detail who he plans to take next, and it’s none other than the priest’s sister. To protect his sister Laurant, he drags in his best friend and top-notch FBI agent Nick Buchanan to act as her bodyguard while local police and the FBI work on luring out the killer before he strikes again.
Throughout the story, there’s a simmering attraction between Laurant and Nick, and it doesn’t truly manifest until much later in the story, which I like since I’m a fan of slow-burn romances. Reading this book reminded me why I love this author’s books so much. She has such strong depictions of not just the main characters but the side characters too (like Noah Clayborne) and there’s a nice amount of dry humor and witty banter thrown in as well. And the suspense and mystery was done well – for a second there I thought the story would go down the predictable route but I was wrong. There’s quite a number of red herrings and I didn’t figure out who the culprit was until the very end.
The balance between romance and suspense was more tipped towards the latter and since I’m a fan of RS reads to have a little more suspense than romance, this worked well in my favor. The romance was a pretty minor aspect, but the book had just enough to get me giddy and invested in Nick and Laurant as a couple.
However, there were also a few things that didn’t work for me and made the story drag a little. First, there were too many side characters and all their problems and role in the story made my head dizzy. There’s definitely a reason why each and every one of these characters are present but I wish the author could’ve kept their roles at a minimum and shifted her focus mainly on Laurant and Nick. After reading multiple RS books from this author I see a pattern in the way she approaches the romance in these stories – more often it’s the heroine who will realize her feelings for the hero and will voice them and scare off the hero because he just wants to protect her, or he’s too afraid to get hurt. Even though this is the first book in this series, I didn’t read this one first and so to see this same romance timeline yet again bothered me. In the romance department, I wish there was more flair, originality, and development.
Aside from those concerns, the rest of the story was a solid read! I loved the suspense aspect of the book, both main characters were likable and complemented each other well, and the side characters were fantastic too (loved Noah!). If I didn’t have to pause it twice to go to other books, I know this is a story I would’ve finished in one sitting.
Heartbreaker is the first book in the Buchanan/Renard/MacKenna series and just like the other books, is an interconnected standalone.
Rating: 3.5-4 stars! 3.5 for the general story, but 4 for some seriously outstanding moments and the romantic ending!
Comments are closed.