I remember a discussion on one of the lists objecting to heroes who
treat the heroine badly and then don't do enough groveling before they
are redeemed. I was a bit worried as I read Marilyn Pappano's fast-paced
and entertaining police romance. Jack Murphy treated Eve DesJardiens as
badly as possible. I was worried that he wouldn't suffer enough.
A year earlier, New Orleans police detective Jack Murphy had arrested
his lover Evie as an accessory to murder. One of his informants, a young
woman who had infiltrated the operation of William MacDougal, who was
suspected of laundering money, had been found dead. The only person
outside the department who knew about Celeste Dardenelle's police
connections was Evie. And when an unexplained $5000 turned up in her
account and calls to MacDougal were traced to her phone, Jack had
concluded that she had sold him out. Even though Evie was released for
lack of evidence, Jack remained convinced of her guilt.
Jack had loved Evie, but he had never really trusted her. You see, Evie
was also the mysterious Evangelina, New Orleans' most famous psychic.
Jack dismissed her claims of psychic powers and was uncomfortable with
what he perceived to be her career as a charlatan. So he all too
readily ignored her claims of innocence.
In the intervening year, Jack had become obsessed with getting
MacDougal. He has an angle to get close to his target, but he needs
Evie's help. MacDougal's new wife Irina is a believer in psychic
powers. If the famous Evangelina can become her guru, well, perhaps
Jack can find the evidence he needs to win his case. So he pressures
Evie into cooperating, despite the danger.
When the two are thrown together, it becomes clear that neither has
moved beyond the pain of their failed relationship. Evie felt
understandably betrayed by the only man she had ever loved. That he
could have believed her capable of such an act hurts her grievously.
And yet she understands that Jack had felt compelled to believe the
evidence of his eyes over the feelings in his heart.
Seeing Evie again, watching her interact with Irina, noting her
relations with others, and asking questions about the events of a year
earlier all lead Jack to doubt what seemed so clear a year earlier. But
if Evie did not finger Celeste, then who did?
The answer to this question is the gist of the mystery in Murphy's
Law. Pappano does a good job of keeping things interesting and
maintaining the suspense. And while I figured out part of the solution,
one aspect caught me completely by surprise.
Pappano develops her characters so that their continued fixation on each
other despite each's sense of having been betrayed seems reasonable.
They had been so incredibly happy, so perfectly matched, so comfortable
with each other. Neither had ever experienced such a connection
before. So the fact that neither could "get over it" does not seem
All in all, Murphy's Law is a most satisfying example of romantic
suspense. And do not fear. Murphy suffers every bit as much as he