A new guy in town gets tangled up in a murder plot in this contemporary romance.
On Reid Lucas’ first day in a new town, police arrest him for driving under the influence. He uses his phone call to contact a woman he knows named Jane, but instead, he gets her roommate, Alyssa. He talks her into bailing him out, and to make it up to her, he cooks dinner for her, revealing that he’s moved to town for a software engineering job. Alyssa is a cop in the process of getting her marriage annulled. Their relationship might have ended there if not for a shooting at Reid’s new office; Reid is a suspect, but Alyssa is his alibi. They strike up a friendship, and Reid helps Alyssa with an altercation with her soon-to-be ex-husband; she’s grateful for his help, and they later sleep together. A vague possibility that someone wants to kill Reid, but killed his boss by mistake, hangs over the proceedings. When Reid loses his job, he must decide whether to stay in town or move back to Chicago. Alyssa is starchy and judgmental, and although overcoming trust issues is a common romance trope, Alyssa comes off as unsympathetic at times because she’s so humorless. She’s also religious, which makes it curious that she’d be so attracted to Reid, who seems to think marriage vows are merely suggestions. The pair just don’t seem to have much in common, so the story’s conclusion feels forced. Meanwhile, the story’s detectives are almost comically bad at their jobs, jumping to unfounded conclusions about Reid that keep getting him in trouble. Ultimately, the murder plot takes a back seat to the romance and, indeed, is finally solved off-page. The prose is smoothly written, with bits of snappy dialogue, as when Jane asks Reid if chopping onions makes him cry: “ ‘Not if you know the trick,’ he said. ‘Is it a secret?’ ‘Oh, I have lots of secrets,’ he assured her.”However, the plot is messy and illogical and doesn’t entirely hang together.
An unconvincing mystery and love story despite some engaging conversation.