I came across this book on the Romance Reviews Today website (I've discovered quite a few good books there BTW) where they rated it a Perfect 10. While I wouldn't go quite that far in praise of this book it is still an impressive debut.
Betsy Tremaine is the editor of a small town newspaper in sleepy Port Henry, Washington. She also occasionally writes book reviews for the paper and those she writes for the books by (what she figures to be old and crotchety) Seattle cop J. Soldier McKennitt are absolutely scathing. Betsy is a smart, independent, nice woman with an hourglass figure who is reduced to feeling insignificant, overweight and unattractive in the present of her gorgeous, fashion-conscious, highly critical and insensitive mother. Her father was diagnosed with schizophrenia and has been institutionalized for the past ten years. And now it looks as if she is being stalked! Late night hang-ups and now a nasty, threatening note have Betsy on edge. Perhaps her trip to Seattle for a crime writers' conference will help her to relax. Unfortunately for Betsy, it is not to be!
Jackson Soldier McKennitt has already decided that Elizabeth Tremaine is a dried up old spinster who wouldn't know a good book if it bit her! His book sales and reviews from every other front prove that Ms Tremaine is in the minority, but her words still rankle. His good mood is restored when he meets a luscious blonde at a writers' conference. Man, is she ever gorgeous - all woman in all the right places! But when he gets a look at her name tag he decides to have a little fun with his nemesis in a writing seminar and the resulting story they compose together is quite funny. Soldier decides to put his annoyance at her reviews on the back burner when it becomes clear from several incidents that she is being stalked. He goes into full detective mode, working to protect Betsy, find her stalker and somehow keep his hands off her! He's vowed never to marry, especially after the death of his partner (over which he feels serious guilt). He's witnessed the devastation the families of fallen cops go through and he will not put anyone through that.
So, it comes down to determining who is stalking Betsy, can Betsy overcome her self-esteem issues and can Soldier get past his unwillingness to involve himself in a serious relationship? On the plus side, I really liked both Betsy and Soldier and I thought the author presented several plausible possible candidates for the stalker until about the last quarter of the book when it started to become more obvious. I think she's got a bright future in the light, suspense romance genre. On the not-so-positive side, at times I found the humor a bit forced and some of the dialog on the silly, corny side. She also introduced Soldier's also cop brother Taylor and Betsy's doctor best friend Claire and it looks like they will get a story - but if her website is correct, not until 2006!!! That stinks, as Claire and Taylor had a nice chemistry in the scenes they had together. Anyway, a solid debut effort and a book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.