Title: Sweet Talk
Author: Julie Garwood
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: 7 August 2012
Attorney and IRS agent Olivia Mackenzie is the kind of tough, wise-cracking, powerful woman fans expect from a Garwood protagonist—but this time she has outdone herself. Olivia is not just any woman, she is every woman; flawed in the familiar ways so many of us are.
On the trail of an elaborate Ponzi scheme, one that threatens to ruin the lives of naïve and unsuspecting victims, Olivia suddenly finds her own life is in danger after she asks questions of the wrong people. She is accustomed to fighting for the underdog, but being vulnerable herself is a very different story. Smart enough to know when enough is enough, Olivia calls for reinforcements.
When she meets FBI Agent Grayson Kincaid there is an immediate and obvious attraction, palpable on both sides. Together they make an excellent team to fight corruption but Olivia is also fighting the immediate and intense attraction she feels for Agent Kincaid, and that may be a battle she is bound to lose.
This is the first Julie Garwood book I’ve read, even though I have friends that are incredibly loyal fans – especially of her historical romance novels. And Sweet Talk starts out right in the middle of the action. Olivia MacKenzie, innocently, goes for a job interview and ends up assaulted, nearly shot, and in the middle of an FBI investigation. Olivia can’t believe it, she has enough on her mind with trying to get proof of her father’s Ponzi scheme that she doesn’t need the hassle of all this on top of possibly getting cut from her position as an IRS attorney.
If there’s one good thing that comes from this whole fiasco, it’s meeting Grayson Kincaid – and incredibly sexy FBI agent that becomes more determined than ever to protect Olivia from the myriad threats against her. Grayson is nearly a picture perfect hero. He’s kind, rich, sensitive, focused, took on responsibility for his nephew and smart as hell. He even tries to remove himself from the case when he gets involved with Olivia. In fact, he’s a little too perfect, and it doesn’t allow him to have the depth that would really let me get to know him.
Olivia on the other hand is a bundle of personality, and along with her best friends – the four Pips – I really connected with her. Surviving cancer, and a grueling ordeal at a very young age explains a lot about grown-up Olivia’s decisions, thoughts and her determination to see things set right. Sometimes she would seem to rush into some situations without regard to the safety of it, and it nearly resulted in serious consequences. I understood her need for independence, but there comes a point when she just became stubborn – at the expense of her own and others safety.
One of the things I appreciated most about Sweet Talk was the way that Olivia and Grayson’s friendship developed throughout the book. The downside of that was that I never really felt the chemistry of a relationship, or a true desire to have one with each other. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a well-built relationship, just missing an indefinable something that I can’t quite place.
The suspense storyline was pretty straight-foward, with no unseen twists, and the “villains” telegraphed themselves from nearly the first instance. They also tend to be more than a bit cardboard, without any real depth and seeming to do things because they could, and they were bad. I questioned quite a lot of their actions. Underlying that though is the part that kept me turning the pages to get to the resolution – Olivia’s friend, Jane, is back in the hospital. Has the cancer returned? Will she survive? I was very much invested in Olivia and her friends.
All in all, Sweet Talk is a quick, good read. Ms. Garwood's writing beautifully emerges you in the story, and I look forward to trying more by her.
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