If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while, you’ve probably got the impression that I like Suzanne Brockmann’s writing. The funny thing is that when she was recommended to me, I gave the books to my husband first since from the description they seemed more his type of book. Now we take turns buying more (and we came in late on a HUGE backlist) for each other…okay, more like try to jump the gun because it’s nice to have a present you know will be welcome and you can both enjoy. (He just got me Tall, Dark and Dangerous for example.)
My husband was the one to get me Infamous, a novel so far removed from the Seal adventure type books we discovered her with that I wasn’t sure what to make of it. That said, I’m a long-term, if infrequent, Western reader, and it was Brockmann. She hasn’t disappointed me yet.
I get to the first page of the story…which is a prologue…in first person…by a dead guy…with a serious case of attitude.
Umm, the back blurb says romantic suspense, not paranormal.
I know there are readers who would skip it just because it’s a prologue, and readers who would shake their heads and put the book down. Those readers are missing out on a wonderful romantic thrill ride.
So, the basic premise is this:
Renowned historian is brought in to do authenticity checks for a new movie on a favorite Old West tale, both of the public’s and Alison Carter’s. Only the story captured in countless novels and movies is a fantasy, pure fiction made up by the so-called hero of the piece, who was neither as polished nor shiny as the tale recounts, at least according to the so-called villain, a young gunslinger supposedly killed while kidnapping the hero’s wife.
That’s where A.J. Gallagher comes in. He leaves his good life in Alaska to go on a wild goose chase and convince this historian to tell the true story of what happened. How the gunslinger rather than dying in a kidnapping attempt actually escaped with the supposed hero’s wife, taking her away from a rotten, no-good cheat who beat his wife in private and kept her from forming any support network that might help her.
Needless to say, Alison has a little trouble believing what is so contrary to popular knowledge, and things only get worse when A.J. admits his source is not his great grandfather, who died when he was still a kid, but his great grandfather’s ghost.
And as though that weren’t enough, there’s also some kind of mob activity going on behind the scenes, something that Alison ends up dumped in the middle of, which puts her life at risk.
If it were anyone other than Brockmann…
But she pulls this off. This is a love story. Despite believing him a random movie extra at first and off his rocker in the middle, Alison falls hard for A.J., who returns the favor. The ghost, a strong enough personality to steal the show, manages to do his best to advance both his agenda and that of getting his great grandson’s life in order without diminishing either Alison or A.J.’s role in the story.
What can I say? It was fun, crazy, and wonderful. I’ve been thinking the way Brockmann pulls off these “romance under fire” situations without bugging me about their long term sustainability is by having the romance start in the previous book. But this is a standalone, and a third character snags some of the on-screen time away from the growing relationship. All I can tell you is that it worked for me, better even than I had hoped it would. Whether you like Westerns or not, if you’re looking for a true romance with a fun bit of adrenaline on the side, Infamous is worth your time.