Wednesday, January 4, 2012
ARC Review of Amanda’s Blue Marine by Doreen Owens Malek
Publisher: Gypsy Autumn Publications
Published: January 2012
Even though Amanda Redfield had come from a privileged background, her life wasn’t all about designer shoes and charity luncheons. Amanda was a well respected attorney with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office. She also had a stalker who was sending her nasty notes of the incredibly scary and threatening variety. Rookie Detective Brendan Kelly was about as far from Amanda’s social circles as a person could get and still remain on the planet. An ex-Marine who had put in some hard time in the Iraqi war and the son of an alcoholic cop who had been kicked off the force, Kelly was a hard drinking, womanizing, time bomb. As the case, circumstances, and chemistry draw the pair closer together, the inevitable happens and feelings develop. But there are huge hurdles to clear before this couple can have even the slightest chance at happiness.
I was absolutely over the moon when I found out one of my favorite authors was returning to the publishing world after a decade of silence. And when I was offered the opportunity to review her newest work, well if that didn't butter my biscuit, nothing would. Doreen Owens Malek writes about people who have real issues and real flaws. There are no cookie cutter characters or otherwordly scenarios to move the story along. She relies on her natural talent to give the reader a entertaining, compelling story that will pull them into her books by their heartstrings. I also love the fact that her books use a realistic time frame. This book takes place over years, and you can see the evolution of the characters. When I first encountered Amanda, I'll be honest, I wasn't her biggest fan. She was sheltered, and even though she was in a tough profession, she lacked the independence I like in my heroines. By the end of this book, I was her biggest fan. When she decided to take control of her life and her future, she did it with a vengeance.
Now, it's no secret that I am a huge fan of the bad boy, damaged hero. But realistically they come with a lot of baggage that is not going to disappear overnight. And while I believe love can conquer most problems, I still think it requires a proactive approach and a lot of work to keep it going. Ms. Malek takes the reader through these stages. She knows that it is highly unlikely that the bad habits of a lifetime are just going to magically fade away without some big bumps in the road and a few hurt feelings. Her villains likewise have both good and bad, some more than others. So it's not always easy to come down quite so hard on the bad guys. It's all in the intent. Amanda's mother and her BFF had varying shades of grey. And speaking of Amanda's BFF, I think she needs a book. There's a very interesting story there. The only minor critique I could begin to offer this talented lady is (and I bet you can guess what it is) a little more depth in the love scenes. I realize I am probably a tad bit jaded from some of the very graphic material I sometimes review. And I am not suggesting she go to that level. But a tiny bit more detail wouldn't hurt my feelings. Otherwise this offering is as top of the line as it gets. Welcome back, Doreen.