Pandora's Box

Getting Her Man

Michele Albert
2002, Contemporary Romance
Avon, $5.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0380820552
Part of a series

Grade: N/A
Sensuality: N/A

There is a staff review of this book as well

Private Investigator Diana Belmaine is hunting for a clever and daring thief when she encounters Dr. Jack Austin. Jack is a well known archeologist, a charmer and one of People Magazine's beautiful people. Diana is convinced that he is also thief. She just can't figure out why the sexy archeologist would endanger his career by stealing.

Jack Austin knows that Diana could endanger everything he has worked for if she discovers his secret, but he's drawn to her like a moth to a flame, and Jack just can't resist playing with fire.

Linda:     Getting Her Man was a fun story. I liked the Indiana Jones-style hero a lot and the heroine was my favorite type - strong. It was a quick and fun read.

Blythe:     My reaction was mostly positive too, but I did think it was a little slow in places. I loved the idea of an Indiana Jones kind of hero, but I think I would have liked it even more if there had been a little more action - maybe even a journey to the Mayan ruins. What I really did like was its modern sensibility. The hero and heroine seemed like real grown ups, had actual pasts, and spoke in ways that people actually speak.

Linda:     I agree, I think the dialogue was one of the best parts of the book. I loved the fact that Jack and Diana talked to each other and I also liked the fact that Jack was a charmer who laughed and smiled. I've read too many angst-ridden sullen male protagonists lately, so it was nice to have a guy who was a pleasure to have around. A trip to the ruins might have been fun, but there was enough action at the end to suit me. The focus stayed on the love story here. I was sure from the first that if Jack was guilty, there had to be a reason. Even though I had figured it out early, I still enjoyed the journey. And I liked Diana's relationship with her two girlfriends.

Blythe:     Yes, something tells me those two friends will be getting books of their own. I rarely like stories with thief protagonists, because I am usually not convinced they ought to be stealing. In this case, I was comfortable with how it was handled, and I did like Jack.

You make a good point about his happiness. He has a normal family and had a happy childhood, and he didn't mope about his current difficulties. I thought the end was a little silly and contrived though, with a bad guy who wasn't really all that threatening. I think my favorite part of the story was when Jack and Diana were together in Grand Isle, sharing all the their secrets.

Linda:     Didn't you love the flamingos? I could just see the one that looked like Groucho Marx, what a hoot. They gave a good insight to the happiness of Jack's family.

The end did all come together quickly and perhaps the villain wasn't as menacing as he might have been, but I was enjoying Diana, her goth secretary, and her friends' antics at the airport enough to just go along for the ride.

I do hope we will see Bobby Halloran - the gorgeous police detective with the abominable ties - in a future book.

Blythe:     Yes, the flamingos were cute. It was a fun way to show what his family life was like, without hitting the reader over the head trying to make a point. I liked the goth friends, but I thought the way they showed up at the end made them seem a little silly.

But Bobby...well, he almost stole the show. Usually I don't get into men who say "Darlin'," but here I was eating it up with a spoon. Maybe he will hook up with one of the aforementioned girlfriends? (Bobby Halloran made his first appearance in Absolute Trouble written as Michelle Jerott. Albert's next book - Off Limits in October 2003 - is Bobby's book.)

As I read Getting Her Man, I thought that we have discussed a disproportionate number of books set in New Orleans. Thankfully, this one had no Remys, and I thought Albert did a good job in her description of the city. At the end she credits Nancy Wagner (aka Hailey North) for all her New Orleans information, so I guess the credit belongs to both of them. Usually, I really nitpick books with New Orleans settings because I once lived there, but I found almost nothing to complain about on that score.

Linda:      I noticed the lack of Remys and knew you would be pleased. The other thing I was pleased to see was a complete lack of product placements.

I really love "Nawlins" and enjoy it as a setting. I especially enjoyed the familiar restaurants and her description of the type of place at which one finds the best barbeque in the south was dead on. My hubby loves BBQ and you wouldn't believe some of the roadside dives we've been in. They were always packed with the locals, who knew that the groddy outside concealed great ribs within.

Blythe:      And don't forget the beignets at Cafe du Monde. Yum.

Although I didn't think this book was perfect, I thought it had some things going for it that separated it from the pack. No whiny hero, no ditzy-quirky heroine, no millionaires, no constant product updates. Just a nice girl and a nice guy who happen to be attracted to each other and develop deeper feelings from there.

Linda:      I also thought Albert did a good job of evoking the spirit of Indiana Jones and even the charming thief of The Thomas Crown Affair, but made them completely her own. Jack was a much more decent human being than Thomas Crown and frankly I think that Indy would have understood Jack completely - Indy probably would have joined in the hunt for the missing Mayan items. Jack and Diana were adorable - when Jack starting singing "their" song - John Mellencamp's abominable Jack and Diane - about "two kids from the American Heartland," I LOL. It was just a fun, silly thing and Diana needed some silly fun in her life.

Me too - I needed some silly fun too, and this book supplied it. I'll be looking for books about Bobby and Diana's girl friends in the future. Hopefully, we will also get to revisit Jack and Diana in those books.

Blythe:      Yes, I also had to laugh about Jack and Diane "sucking on chili dogs, outside the Tastee Free-eze..." - sorry, you can take the girl out of the eighties, but you can't take the eighties out of the girl.

My feelings about the book were somewhat less enthusiastic than yours - for me it would likely have earned a B- had I been reviewing it - but if Bobby should happen to show up again, I'm there.

What's up for next month, Linda?

Linda:      Next month we are reading Adele Ashworth's When It's Perfect which is connected to her last book, Simply Irresistible. I've enjoyed her books in the past, her heroes and heroines are often a bit out of the norm for romance novels, which is always fun.

Blythe:     And I will be taking a little vacation next month as I move and unpack, so Linda will be joined by AAR's reviewer/publisher liaison, Jennifer Schendel. We've already posted a review of the Ashworth book, but I'm sure you and Jen will have unique insights into it regardless.

Linda:     Hopefully, the following month or two we will need a guest columnist for me to move and unpack, too.

Blythe:      I'll keep my fingers crossed for you, Linda. I know what a pain it is!

Linda:      Happy packing, Blythe, somehow I think even amid the turmoil, you will find time to read a book or two.

Blythe:     Thanks. I'll "see" you in December.

--Blythe Barnhill and Linda Hurst, with assistance from Sandi Morris, for

-- Pandora's Box

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