Dear Ms. Archer,
The other Next book of yours I read, “Off Her Rocker,” also featured an older heroine stranded in the snow who ends up in a small town where she finds people to help and who help her. Only this time you also throw in a cute former police officer turned PI and send them both on the run from drug dealing bosses and over protective rich daddies.
Annie Macy might seem like she’s an unbelievable character but I know fourty-some year olds who are still daddy’s girls, drifting around life and waiting for Mr. Right. At least Annie is trying to earn a place in her father’s bank even if he’s too protective of her to allow her to take over after he retires. And when she discovers that the latest man her father hoped she’d marry is in love with another woman and that her long dead mother might have been mixed up in something shady, she takes a chance and heads off to find out about it. I admire her for wanting to learn the truth about her mother, even if it might not be what she wants to hear, and for wanting to stand on her own two feet.
I’m not as sure that Joe Brady isn’t too much like a stereotypical NYC ex-cop/PI/part time taxi driver. But since I’ve never met one, I’m basing my feelings on watching too much Law & Order and reading romance novels. However, even though I’m not a police department expert, the way that Joe’s career was sandbagged seems reasonable. The hints, innuendo and police anger at his willingness to turn on bad cops makes sense as reasons he ended up leaving the police force. I also like that you don’t try and use a convoluted way to bring Joe and Annie together but instead rely on the six degrees of separation. Only it’s really just two degrees here. And I love his parrot.
Annie’s “investigation” isn’t really one and wisely you don’t try to make her suddenly become some expert undercover agent sleuthing out the details of her boss’s drug laundering scheme. Her banking background does help her determine that something fishy is going on at work though I feel it realistic that in the end it was something she didn’t realize she had that clinches the case. But it sure took Annie a while to figure out that Joe didn’t just “happen” to be there when she needed a quick get away from her enraged boss.
If I were ever on the run, I’d want to find myself in Pineridge, NY. Boy they take Annie and Joe to their hearts in an instant. Maybe a little too quickly? And spending the night, during a blizzard, in an unheated car while still nekked after sex? Sounds like hypothermia or frostbite time to me no matter how much heat Annie and Joe generated.
I liked how you took the typical stereotypes of these two lead characters and gently made fun of them by having Annie and Joe make fun of them. Then each discovers what’s beneath the surface of the other and that’s what helps me believe in their quick romance. I just wish the story actually had something to do with Christmas to justify the title. B-