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REVIEW: La Desperada by Patricia Burroughs

La Desperada

With her husband dead by suicide and his crazed brother accusing her of murder, Philadelphia-bred Elizabeth Dougherty breaks into the jail and holds a cold-blooded killer at gunpoint.

“I’ll release you if you agree to my terms. Take me with you.” But when Boone Coulter grudgingly agrees, he has no idea that her enemy is the sheriff–a nightmare from his own past who now wants them both dead.

That wild leap of desperation launches their their passionate tale of love and sacrifice becomes the stuff of legend…

The legend of La Desperada.

Dear Ms. Burroughs,

To be bluntly honest, I almost abandoned this book at what I thought was the half-way point. Then I reread the Daily Deals post here and remembered that the book is shorter than the ebook page count would lead one to believe. Realizing how much closer I was to the finish line, I got myself through it. What I’ve written so far will no doubt give a good idea of my feelings for it.

Actually the book started off well. It’s soon obvious that the book and characters will have a very dark tone. This is no Western romcom or cutesy story. Death and despair drip from the pages. But that’s okay. Sometimes I want a darker book and the darkness isn’t what bothers me about it.

The impetus behind the action goes back to a horrific night years before the main story begins. Foul deeds were done, people died, lives were irrevocably changed but only three people now know the truth behind what occurred. The mystery of what really happened is coyly hinted at yet not revealed, even to the reader much less to poor Elizabeth, until almost the end of the book. I can deal with some hints and waiting for the whole truth and nothing but the truth but not for this long. By the time Coulter reveals all, I was past really giving a damn and more pissed about how long it took than anything else.

Elizabeth and Coulter are very different people. She’s refined, ladylike and unused to roughing it. Coulter has had to live by his wits and on the run for ten years. They’re obviously going to clash and frankly I enjoyed their initial encounters including how Elizabeth breaks him out of jail. Soon after that though, their bickering began to get old. She’s weak on the trail, as might be expected, and he has little patience for it, as also might be expected, but I for one got tired of seeing her weaknesses endlessly detailed and watching Coulter snarl, frown and show impatience with her. After a few times, I got it.

The two arrive at the mountain hideaway of a mysterious man known to Coulter. By the time they leave, a bit more is know about this powerful man but not much. He played some vital role in Coulter’s life but the whole of it is never revealed and a later mention of Miquel Obregon does little to cast any more light on him or what ties him to Coulter. This left me frustrated. The villain is as eeeevil as they come but there really isn’t too much more to him than cardboard evility. He’s going to pop up, make trouble and be evil through the book but readers shouldn’t look for more.

Right about the time that Elizabeth and Coulter begin dallying in “I hate you, I hate you, I’m strangely attracted to you, let’s fuck” I got bored and this is almost where I quit. It’s sex, followed by snipping and arguments, followed by more sex and suddenly they’re in love and Elizabeth is acting like a martyr. If I hadn’t calculated that 1. I only had 100 pages left and 2. peeked ahead and thought the ending might justify me sticking it out, I would have moved on to another book but I didn’t.

Heading down the stretch, the last part is actually not bad. Tension ratchets up, the noose closes around our two on the run and only some fancy footwork gets them away to safety. The means by which this occurs are thankfully not of the deus ex machina variety.

The plot is well done, the atmosphere is chilling, the escape at the end is clever but unfortunately some rather standard romance tropes, an unexplained section of the plot and a two dimensional villain don’t serve the story well. I wish my grade could be higher but a C it is.

~Jayne

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Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

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