Georgetown glamour girl, Lana Hargrove is one man shy of the American Dream. She owns a successful public relations firm and has found Bruce Longfellow, a handsome and very rich gentleman, who has the social connections to take her business to the next level. Lana's flirtatious spin-doctor tactics have made her a favorite with so many men that she has lost count, which has become a huge problem, since one of those men is stalking her every move. But Lana isn't the normal DC diva. This girl can defend her own. So when she spars in the back alley with her stalker, Justin Larkin, an assistant of her estranged father, the notorious art thief, Frank Hargrove her perfect world and her plans to wed Longfellow comes to a screeching halt. Bad men want Lana dead and her father has sent the sultry and quite aloof Larkin to protect her. His scathing charm and scarred face doesn't win Lana over, but his blazing eyes, Adonis physique and general interest of her mind not her body melts Lana's cold heart. She discovers that there is more to Justin than meets the eye. What she doesn't know is that Justin Larkin is actually Justin Baxter, a private investigator sent to bring Frank Hargrove to justice. What will Lana do once she finds out? What will Lana do once she meets her father? Who wants her head? And can she save herself in the process? More importantly, when all the masks are off can Justin and Laurel's relationship survive?
Sneeds weaves a suspenseful and very romantic tale in All the Man I Need. There's enough running scenes, love scenes, and glamour scenes to keep her readers attention. Bounty hunters, art thieves, rich powerful men abound. If you loved John Le Carre's A Thomas Crown Affair, which was later adapted into a movie starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo and Dan Brown's The Davinci Code you will like this novel. It is a nice mix between its precursors with an African American appeal.
Lana's character is flawed and believable. She's not the diva she wants everyone to believe. It is her persona, another marketing tool for her business. She falls for Justin not just because the constant physical interaction between them (running for their lives) pushes her toward him, but she sees herself in his scar. She sees her unacceptance of herself through him. Justin is the quintessential hero with a heart. He humbles himself to work with his cousin, who stole his first wife, for the sake of family, he finds compassion and a father figure in Frank Hargrove, he falls heels over head for Lana from day one. He's the kind of man women sing about...Whitney Houston. His aloofness is also his gift and his curse. He is a pro at living in the shadows, but Lana continues to bring him into the light. When she yanks him around in the alley, when she toys with him at the retreat. She knows how to push his buttons and make him express himself. Great tension. Great couple. Great job.
I do not give Sneeds a perfect score for this novel, because the ending is too predictable and there isn't enough suspense to push me forward. The relationship she builds among the characters is the staying power that keeps you intrigued. But there isn't enough balance between the romance and the suspense to wow me. Bruce Longfellow and Xavier Lattimore's introduction in the beginning of the book become smoking guns with blank bullets. Bruce is too plain and Xavier too powerful to be trusted early on, so I'm not surprised when their true motives are revealed further along in the book. The heist also isn't as believable as it could be and the stakes aren't as high. I kept asking myself so what? What if Lana doesn't help her father? However, I do think that this book is worth its price. It's one of the better books I've read this year.
Dee Y. Stewart,