Compromising Positions

Loving Mariah

Saving Susannah

It Had to Be You by Beverly Bird
(Silh. Int. Mom. #970, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-07970-2
It Had to Be You almost makes it on every level. The characters are almost believable, the plot almost credible and the action is almost realistic.

Shawnalee Collins is a week from taking the bar exam after years of part-time jobs and hard work. Her day has already been ruined by notice of an IRS audit when an elderly lady on a street corner accosts her. The woman thrusts an old musty box at Shawna and then an unappealing dog of Chihuahua mix. The lady disappears and shortly thereafter Shawna is the victim of an attempted mugging.

Out of the crowd a stranger surges forward, retrieves the box and helps her up, only to immediately disappear. Since keeping a dog violates her lease, Shawna is out late the next night looking for the owner. Instead, she sees the stranger who rescued her but he flees.

Miraculously, the next day the IRS abandons its chase, a job opportunity surfaces and the landlady forgives part of her rent. Shawna attributes her sudden turn of fortune to the intervention of an angel. Her cynical views of law and justice appear to be contradictory with her belief in an idealized angel and this conflict persists throughout the novel.

Shawna’s rescuer is Gabriel Marsden, best-selling author and husband to a slain supermodel. Gabriel became suspicious of the D.A.'s office since they inaccurately placed his wife’s time of death at the time that would convict their suspect. When his car exploded from a car bomb, Gabriel let people believe he was killed so he could pursue his own investigation into his wife's death.

Shawna finds him again and Gabriel’s pursuers give chase. Now that Shawna has been seen with Gabriel, her life is in danger and they flee together. They head to New York, the location of the crime, where they attempt to buy a gun. Lots of time is spent on this, but it adds nothing to the plot. They didn't buy one and end up running from New York as well.

Amazingly, Shawna believes that because she is smart and can bring a fresh view to the evidence, she can solve the crime. And after just two days she realizes that she is madly in love with Gabriel, although she is certain he still loves his wife. After almost a year, resolution of this crime comes too easily and is too contrived.

The chemistry between Gabe and Shawna is almost.... And the author has you wondering if the dog is almost an angel. Perhaps you have concluded by now, this book is almost…almost as good as her other efforts, but not quite.

--Thea Davis

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