Monthly Mini Review
The Marine Next Door by Julie Miller – C (Trigger warning: rape) I bought this one when it was on special recently for 99c. I love the rescue trope, even though it is becoming increasingly hard for me to find books which give me the payoff I’m after. Maggie Wheeler is a Sergeant for the Kansas City PD and has recently qualified to apply for her detective shield. She’s a single mother, with a 10 year old son, Travis. Former marine and now arson investigator Captain John Murdock moves in next door to her and her son. Maggie’s ex-husband, Danny, has recently been released from prison for his brutal rape of Maggie a decade before (do the math) and she is nervous of meeting new men. Even so, Travis quickly bonds with John and Maggie finds herself attracted for the first time since her attack. The romance moved super fast – this stretched my credulity to breaking point particularly given that Maggie hasn’t had sex with anyone since she was raped for a weekend by her violent (now ex-) husband. That she had no hang ups about getting intimate with someone after so long, except for a fear she wouldn’t be very good at it, seemed unrealistic. For a mother as protective of her son as Maggie is, the thought that she’d be prepared to move in with John after mere days of being in a relationship was also a bit much (I’m practicing the art of understatement here).
I don’t know how police forces work in the US but I thought that all police officers had to do their time in the field. Maggie is presented as “desk sergeant” and my impression was that she had not spent any time in the field. I thought all police officers questioned witnesses, secured crime scenes and assisted detectives. When Maggie is asked to be on the task force investigating the Red Rose Rapist, she reacts like this is a first. Maybe I have the way things work in the states wrong but it felt a bit out of place to me.
This book is clearly part of a larger story arc (re the Red Rose Rapist Task Force) and part of a larger series (The Precinct) so there were many couples mentioned I didn’t know. I think the book works well enough as a stand alone but there was a large cast here, not all of which seemed necessary to the story. It’s a short category so the page count isn’t high. I think I’d have enjoyed it more if the story was more fleshed out but as it was, it was on the thin side.
John has had a below knee amputation following an explosion when he was serving in Afghanistan. Mostly I think this is handled okay but there are a few stereotypes I could have lived without (the idea that the first time they have sex Maggie insists on divesting John of the prosthetic and (of course) kisses his stump was one I could definitely live without). I thought the book started off with interesting discussion about how John was adjusting to civilian life and his new role as an arson investigator (because he’s no longer capable of working as a firefighter due to his war injuries) but it kind of fizzled and like the rest of the story, the resolution was a bit too quick.
Still, it was worth my 99c and it was entertaining enough. Maggie was a capable heroine and was able to defend herself when push came to shove in this book. Even though this was a “rescue” book, Maggie wasn’t a damsel in distress.
Reviews of these books will be up soon at AudioGals.
Here’s what you may have missed:
Rocky Mountain Romance by Vivian Arend, narrated by Tatiana Sokolov
Anticipation by Sarah Mayberry
Taken by Charlotte Stein
Back in Play by Lynda Aicher
Knowing the Score by Kat Latham
Night’s Honor by Thea Harrison, narrated by Sophie Eastlake
And I was over at Book Binge with my take on 5 Books Everyone Should Read.