Review: Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood

November 7, 2013 Reviews 6 Comments

Review: Heartbreaker by Julie GarwoodHeartbreaker by Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard #1
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Pocket Books on 1 December 2004
Pages: 520
Reading Challenges: 2013 In Uniform Challenge
One StarOne StarOne Star


Father Thomas Madden life takes an unexpected turn when he hears a confession of a murderer. The man wants absolution not for the murders he has committed but for one he is about to, namely Tom’s sister, Laurant. Tom turns to his old friend and FBI agent, Nick Buchanan, in desperation. Nick’s job is twofold – to protect Laurant and identify the villain but it isn’t that easy to concentrate as she is so good looking. 

The death of Laurant and Tom’s parents left them growing up half a world apart with her in a Swiss boarding school and him living with Nick’s family. They reconnected when she got older and Laurant settled in the quiet town of Holy Oaks to be close to Tom who was recovering from cancer. Literally everyone in the town adores her from the spinster sisters next door to a mob of lusty boys because of her sweet nature and long legs. She even handles the attention of a rather overbearing businessman with equanimity. Her decision therefore to smoke out the would-be killer by pretending to be in love with Nick is a bold one.

Nick is capable, intelligent and just the kind of guy you would want to have your back even though he could also be domineering and arrogant. His not-so-friendly competition with a fellow agent causes problems as the other guy withholds key information and resources to allow the killer to take pot-shots at  Laurant. He is excluded from much of the investigation so I was impressed he was able to see past all the red herrings and identify the baddie. Nick is very wary of pursuing a relationship with Laurant as you aren’t supposed to hook up with a mate’s sister.

The initial confession at the start was creepy but the tension petered out a bit once we got to Holy Oaks. Getting inside the head of quite a few characters diluted the suspense as I was way ahead of Nick in the figuring out department. It might have been more effective if the baddie’s thoughts and actions were a little less stereotypical. The romance was fairly formulaic and I wish it had played out a bit differently. There were some genuinely humorous situations such as when the ladies man Noah who is assigned to watch Tom has to pretend to be a priest.

Heartbreaker seems to be a cross between a small town romance and a romantic suspense novel. It was a quick if fairly predictable read.


6 responses to “Review: Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood

  1. This sounds pretty good, Vilia. I don’t read much romantic suspense and I’ve never read one by Ms. Garwood. Actually, I have only read her medieval romances The Secret, Ransom, and Shadow Music. If you want to fall in love with the highlander to beat all highlanders, read Ransom. 😉 Anyway, back to your review. LOL I think it’s interesting that the mystery was introduced in a confessional. And Nick seems like an interesting guy. I’m glad you enjoyed Heartbreaker even if it was a bit predictable. Thanks for your thoughtful review. 🙂
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    • Ooh, I’ve added Ransom to my list. I have never actually read a highlander book *blushes* but I’ve got this one to add to a Maya Banks recommendation now so I’ll have to get my backside into gear.

  2. Isa

    I haven’t read a suspense novel in a very long time, much less a romantic suspense. It sounds like it’s a quick and entertaining read, even if it is a bit predictable. I like the execution, a murder confession is a very interesting start to a book.

    • It is definitely a ‘I have a few spare hours and want something to chill with’ rather than being in the mood for something epic. It was enjoyable though.

  3. I really liked this book and Mercy, which is the next in the series. Those are my two favorites but I would say the first four books about the Buchanan’s are worth the read. After that however, it all goes south. The action just isn’t that suspenseful anymore and the romances are predictable and a bit cheesy. I believe there is a time when an author needs to bring a series to a close before it dies so we can keep the good memories. This needed to end a long time ago… lol. Julie Garwood is an excellent writer. I’ve heard her other series are quite good.

    • Thanks for the heads up. I get a little wary of long running series as sometimes authors lose focus or ideas and start padding out their books. Cough, Sookie Stackhouse, cough. Sorry about the tickle in my throat 🙂

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