Dear Mrs. O’Reilly,
You came close to a trifecta. You really did but it’s with sadness that I’m going to have to grade this book down. Don’t worry, it’s not a D grade because so many things are still right about it that were right about the first two books in the series. But a few things missed and that’s enough.
It’s not that Sean O’Sullivan changes radically from the easy talking, female pleasing man we’ve seen already. The guy knows how to talk, kiss and finesse his way through relationships, racketball games and courts of law. Want something fixed? Sean’s the man who can. And he’ll leave most everyone with a smile on their face after he’s gotten his way.
It’s not that I don’t like Cleo Hollings, one of the Deputy Mayors of NYC who’s got a pair and who isn’t afraid to show that she does. This woman gets off on negotiating union contracts, thrives on the pressure of getting a strike bound city moving again, enjoys Town Hall meetings in which she knows she’s going to get yelled at. And she’s sexually aggressive too.
The dialogue is still wonderful. As I read the book, I kept marking scenes that I wanted to put up here until it got to the point that I was in danger of trying to quote 1/3 of the book. And that’s way too much to put in one review!
It’s not that I don’t like the conflict that you set up between Sean and Cleo. Both have high powered jobs that demand a lot of their time. Both have family demands to answer to. Both pencil people in during the spare 2 minutes they might have free. This is real life.
It’s that after setting up this great conflict, there’s not enough time to let it play out. Cleo has issues from a past relationship and it’s one in which she admits that the man wasn’t pond scum. I can see her hesitation since the reason he bailed is still an active concern. But. She and Sean are together for all of three weeks before Cleo is basically tossing the poor man to the curb and insisting that it’s Never Going to Work. Give the man a chance. Give the relationship a chance. Don’t rush him either in or out of it. I realize with a category length story this can be hard but it’s something you managed with the other two books so I know it can be done.
I know there’s a lot to like in this book. And that’s including the epilogue which I’m not a great fan of. I don’t think readers will go wrong trying it on its own or finishing out the trilogy with it. It’s got great characters, hotness and snappy dialogue. But I just wish it’d had more time for the resolution of all the that you included in it. B