About That Man

After Tex

Amazing Gracie

The Cowgirl & the
Unexpected Wedding

A Love Beyond Words

The Unclaimed Baby

Along Came Trouble by Sherryl Woods
(Harlequin, $6.50, PG-13) ISBN 1-551-66955-2
With way too many subplots, an annoying heroine and some of the worst police work this side of a Steve Guttenberg movie, Along Came Trouble, is trouble indeed.

Mary Elizabeth “Liz” Swan dumped her childhood sweetheart and lover Tucker Spencer for up and coming politician Larry Chandler six years ago. Tucker, now the sheriff of the small community of Trinity Harbor, has never really gotten over his one true love.

So, imagine his surprise when he finds Liz sleeping half-naked in his bed.

Liz claims she has just found her husband, who incidentally turned out to be a louse, shot dead in her Trinity Harbor estate. Naturally the first thing she thought to do was sneak into the home of the man she jilted and get into his bed. Makes perfect sense, no?

Tucker, being the sap that he is, decides to help Liz despite objections from his family and others who see Liz as evil incarnate for what she did to him all those years ago. I’m inclined to agree with them. More on this later. The book then dissolves into Keystone Kop quality police work (yes, it’s good to let a potential suspect prowl around looking for evidence) and a distracting bunch of subplots involving the secondary characters.

Back to Liz. Here is a heroine with hardly any redeeming factors. The reader is supposed to feel bad for her because everyone hates her for what she did to Tucker. But she still loves Tucker, what she did was a terrible mistake and if only she and Tucker could be like they once were. She really is a nice woman, and the author makes sure she recruits enough evil bitches from central casting to prove that by comparison. Sorry, but it didn’t fly.

First of all, the only reason given for Liz dumping her supposed soulmate is lame at best. She though she could change the world and help so many more people married to a shooting star politician like Larry. They had so many plans to do noble things for the good of all. She also broke it off with Tucker as soon as she realized she might have feelings for Larry. How nice of her, she still dumped him for no good reason in my book.

Then she has the nerve to come running back to him when she’s in trouble. We’re supposed to accept that too because Liz says Tucker is the only person she could ever really trust. I bet he wished he could say the same thing. Throughout the book the people who are angry at her are made to feel unjustified while Saint Liz is forgiven for everything just because she’s just so pathetic and because Tucker is still hot for her.

Even if the reader could forgive Liz, they certainly couldn’t forgive the barrage of superfluous secondary subplots. I suppose those who have been to Trinity Harbor before might be interested in Tucker’s father King’s love life, or whether or not the local minister can convince her reporter husband to have a baby, but I certainly wasn’t. All those subplots did was distract, but given that the main story wasn’t great, maybe it was a good thing.

The only thing that saved this book from being a complete loss was Tucker. He was a decent hero in a bad book. I felt sorry for him, he seemed like such a nice guy and he’d held his love for a woman for so long. Why did he have to pick this one?

Even if I didn’t tell you, you’d know Along Came Trouble is part of a series, because the secondary characters all but scream “Remember me from my story?” I haven’t read the others, but judging from this one, I won’t bother.

--Anne Bulin

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