Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Review: Mr. Perfect

Title: Mr. Perfect
Author: Linda Howard
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published: August 2000

Contemporary Romance Challenge 2009

From the back cover ~

What would make the perfect man?

That's the delicious topic heating up the proceedings at a certain table of professional women at their favorite restaurant, Ernie's, tonight: Mr. Perfect. What qualities would he have? Would he be tall, dark, and handsome? Caring and warmhearted -- or will just muscular do?

Jaine Bright and her three girlfriends start off with the basics -- he'd be faithful and reliable, the responsible type, with a great sense of humor. But as the conversation picks up momentum, so do the quartet's requirements for Mr. Perfect -- and they write down a tongue-in-cheek checklist that's both funny and racy.

The next thing they know, the List, as it has come to be called, spreads like wildfire throughout their company and sizzles along e-mail lines. And it doesn't stop there: the List becomes an overnight sensation, grabbing the interest of local newspapers and television coverage. No one expected this avalanche of attention for something that began as a joke among friends. And the joke turns deadly serious when one of the four women is murdered... The prime suspect in the case is the victim's boyfriend, who was one of a number of men who found the List sexist and offensive. But an impenetrable alibi gets him off the hook.

Now, with the help of Jaine's neighbor, an unpredictable police detective, the puzzle must be solved -- and time is running out as a deadly stalker targets the three remaining friends. Now, knowing whom to trust and whom to love is a matter of survival -- as the dream of Mr. Perfect becomes a chilling nightmare.

Ah, Linda Howard, an author I can always count on to entertain me. This was not only a fun read but had some well written female relationships. The mystery and identity of the killer wasn't too difficult to figure out so if you're looking for real mystery, this isn't it. Jaine and her friends added a different dimension to the story. I liked interactions between the women and seeing how they pulled together during a crisis. I wouldn't say the romance was in the forefront, more of a fairly even divide between the romance and Jaine and her girlfriends. The way Howard showed the various aspects of how the List affected each woman's life made for a greater knowledge of their characters.

Jaine, the heroine, is a single, hard working woman. She has a good job and a close group of friends. Her dating life isn't exactly where she would like it to be. She's been engaged 3 times and is sort of in a holding pattern when it comes to guys. You could say she's a bit gun shy. She has close relationships with her parents, brother and sister along with some sibling rivalry thrown in. She just move into her first home and while she loves the house she feels her next door neighbor leaves much to be desired. He's rude, filthy, loud and obnoxious. And it turns out she can't even have him arrested - he's a cop.

Sam the neighbor and cop cleans up real well. :) He and Jaine are such a fun couple. I could totally picture them on the old game show "The Newlyweds". They would be hilarious and no doubt have quite a few embarrassing moments. They have a tendency to say the craziest things when they're arguing. And they seem to love to argue - partly for the making up and partly because it's just who they are.

Poor Jaine is just trying to mow her lawn when Sam decides to put a stop to the mowing ~

The jerk stood there, bloodshot eyes , snarl on his face, dirty clothes: his usual presentation. He reached over and slid the lever on the mower to the off position, and the efficient little engine groaned to a stop.


For about half a second.

"What in hell did you do that for?" she roared, her face turning red with temper as she stepped closer, unconsciously balling her right hand into a fist.

"I thought you were trying to quit cussing," he taunted.

"You'd drive a saint to cussing!"

"That let's you out, doesn't it?"

"You're damn right!"

He eyed her right hand. "Are you going to use that, or are you going to be reasonable?"

"What-?" She glanced down and saw that her arm was half-cocked, her fist already drawn back. With great effort she uncurled her fingers. They immediately assumed the fight position again. She really, really wanted to slug him, and she got even angrier because she couldn't.

"Reasonable?" she yelled, stepping even closer. "You want me to be reasonable? You're the one who scared the hell out of me and turned off my mower!"

"I'm trying to sleep," he said, enunciating the words with clear pit stops between each one. "Is it asking too much for a little consideration?"

pages 44-45

They make such a lovely couple. :) Sam is really a genuinely nice guy who is under a lot of pressure at work. He's one of those smart asses that I love so much, complete with cocky grin. I liked the way he and Jaine get to know each other, there's a definitely physical attraction once Sam gets cleaned up. Then there's the "show" that Sam gives Jaine - that increased Jaine interested in Sam. I'll leave the "show" to your imagination... But with that physical attraction also comes playfulness between these two. You could really feel them coming to like each other before falling in love. The intense love of cars Jaine and Sam had was also a connection of this unlikely pair. Their falling in love didn't seem forced but a natural conclusion.

The killer was fairly obvious but I still found them interesting because of the way Howard wrote them into this functioning but sick individual. I liked the way the story concluded with the killer getting justice with both Jaine and Sam having a part in the finale.

The weak and at most times annoying parts of the book were the parts with Jaine's brother and sister. These were two characters I found I could almost have done without. Their conflict with Jaine was childish and petty. And the way Jaine dealt with them was frustrating. She took her frustrations with her siblings out on Sam. Everyone else in the book that irritated her she was usually able to hold it in but with Sam she let it fly. She gave as good as her got and made for some funny dialogue as well as hot sex scenes. Sam actually found it a turn on when Jaine got mad at him. How can you not like a guy like that? PMS? Bring it on! LOL

Overall a very enjoyable read from Linda Howard. I couldn't find a website for Ms. Howard but Fantastic fiction (great source for all authors) has a list of Ms. Howard's books and her publisher, Random House, has an author page for Howard.

Rating: A-


  1. Oh, Leslie! I read this book last year for the first time and really, really enjoye it too. The "show" was something else wasn't it? I loved these two! Great review.

  2. I love this book and I've read and reread it a number of times. The banter between Jaine and Sam is priceless. And as I discovered at a luncheon at RWA - Linda Howard can tell a story so funny it makes your side ache from laughing so hard.

  3. Oh yes, one of my favorites!! You did a great job reviewing it too. Damn girl - keep it up!

  4. Hils ~ I want a show like Jaine got. LOL

    Kristie ~ Loved your posts about RWA. That must have been great to hear Linda Howard speak. She's definitely one of my favorites. :)

    Jill ~ Thanks! It's now on my keeper shelf. :)

  5. Thanks for the review, Leslie :) I definitively feel like I should go and re-read it!!

    Personally, I prefer After the Night and Now I See You.

  6. I do have After the Night. I'll make that the next Howard read. I think I got because either you or Kristie recommended. :)

  7. I hope you enjoy - although, you're warned, the hero is a bit of a jerk :P... Okay, a LOT :P

  8. I'm going to have to look out for this one! Everyone seems to have loved it so it's now on my radar! Thanks for the great review, Leslie. :)

  9. nath ~ is he a likeable jerk? LOL Yes, there are some jerks that I eventually like. :)

    Brie ~ definitely give it a try. :)