With Galileo being released in a few days, I had to start at the beginning.
Evan Reed is a “dust-buster”, she helps political parties vet their potential candidates, i.e. find out all there is to know about them. She’s very good at her job and doesn’t care who she pisses off in the process. In truth, Evan doesn’t give a rat’s ass about much but her daughter, until she meets Julia. Julia Donne is married to Andy Townsend, the politician Evan is investigating. It doesn’t take long for her to find out that the marriage exists mostly on paper. Julia captivates Evan immediately, which I totally get. I fell in love with her at first sight too (I know, it’s a book, I didn’t see her, but you know what I mean).
There’s a lot more to this book than romance, nevertheless, even if the romance is excellent. My only regret on that front is that the love scenes are fade to black, which feels like a lost opportunity when there’s so much chemistry between the characters.
I really enjoyed Evan’s investigation into Andy and the mysterious Mata Hari-type Maya Jindal. The mystery / political thriller is intricate and so layered I kinda got lost at some point but I didn’t mind. I love that feeling of being carried away by the story. When it all seems unstoppable, both the story and the reading.
I didn’t care much for the ending however, and the epilogue is a bit WTF, yet as much as I wish it had been better, it didn’t ruin anything for me. I’ll probably forget all about it and only remember the characters anyway because that’s how my mind works.
So, the characters. Evan is an incredibly complex and endearing character. She’s foul-mouthed, smart and sweet. She’s a former Catholic, with a very ambivalent relationship with religion and a priest for a best friend. She has always known she was gay yet had a drunken experimenting one-night stand with a man, resulting in the birth of her daughter. When the story begins, Evan is trying to come to terms with the idea of fourteen-year old Stevie being away at prep school. Stevie’s father, Dan, is the one who gets Evan involved with Andy Townsend. I’m looking forward to seeing how that relationship – Evan / Stevie / Dan – evolves. Then there’s Julia, who has lived her life following the path her very wealthy and not-so-nurturing parents decided on, both in her professional life (she inherited the publishing business her family gets its wealth from) and in her personal life. When she meets Evan, she’s at the right time in her life to finally take control of her own life. She’s a lot more certain of what she wants than Evan seems to believe. And as I wrote above, the chemistry between the two women is fantastic.
I’m not sure what to think about the villains, Marcus Goldman (Dan’s boss) and Maya Jindal. He’s awfully slimy but she’s more complex. So much so that I can’t get a handle on her. Reading Galileo next might help with that…
Last but not least, the writing is excellent. Hey, it’s Ann McMan, so no surprise there.