She Can Tell

Melinda Leigh
December 2012, Romantic Suspense
Montlake, $12.95, 348 pages, Amazon ASIN 1612185657
Part of a series

Grade: B-
Sensuality: Warm

She Can Tell isnít a very catchy title, and it took me a minute to figure out how it related to the plot of the story. The book, though, is a solid romantic suspense, even if it doesnít break any new ground.

After a devastating injury ended her riding career, Rachel Parker returned home to her family's old farm to teach riding and train horses, even if she can no longer ride herself. That is not the biggest of her worries, though. Someone has been vandalizing her property (and, perhaps coincidentally, a local construction site that is controversial in their small town). Rachel is pretty sure it is her sister's jerk husband, whom Rachel stops from beating his wife. The local police chief, Mike O'Connell, is also there to stop the attack, and despite the chaos is still drawn to Rachel.

Things begin escalating, and quickly, after that. Attacks and sabotage wreak havoc on Rachel's life, and Mike is battling a mayor and council that want him out of his job, as well as his own feelings of guilt for not stopping a murderer in time to save a young woman's life and nearly costing his friend's fiancťís life (this, I assumed, occurred in a previous novel by Melinda Leigh.) Mike is attracted to Rachel, but with his job on the line, he can't risk getting involved with someone who plays a role in an ongoing investigation. And then a dead body is found in her basement, and things get a lot more complicated.

This is a fairly run-of-the-mill romantic suspense, but I don't mean that in a bad way. There's the woman being victimized by an unknown attacker, and the cop who feels called to protect her. There's small-town politics and business and probably some corruption. And thereís a secret on Rachelís past, something even she doesnít even fully understand or remember.

For all that itís fairly predictable, itís also well written, entertaining, and fast paced. The villain isnít a huge surprise, but neither was he so obvious as to be insulting to the readerís intelligence. The pieces fell together quite neatly.

And I liked Mike, a lot. Heís a gentle giant with an ulcer, a man who knows his strengths and weaknesses and drinks Maalox by the gallon. Heís a bit older than your average hero Ė in his early 40s, the author tells us Ė and ďcomic-book hero big.Ē He was a good balance to Rachelís brusqueness, and the two had good chemistry together.

I enjoyed reading this book, and had a hard time putting it down. Unfortunately, it also faded quickly from my mind. Still, if youíre looking for a romantic suspense to read, this one might be worth picking up.

-- Jane Granville

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