TBR Day. Kill and Tell / Linda Howard. 1998


This month's theme is "more than one," i.e. multiple books by the same author sitting in the old TBR pile. In addition to this RS title, I had one of Howard's older category romances which I think I'll save for later this year or next year.

Kill and Tell begins with the shooting death of Karen Whitlaw's father. His body is left in an alley in the French Quarter of New Orleans and detective Marc Chastain is assigned to the case. Marc believes his victim was homeless and estranged from his family, so initially the detective assumes the elder Whitlaw was the victim of random violence. He contacts Karen so she can come to New Orleans to claim the body.

Karen is a nurse in Columbus, Ohio. Her father, a Viet Nam vet, deserted her and her mother when Karen was 7 and Karen's had almost no contact with him since. Her mother had had occasional contact, but over time Karen had refused to speak him when he would call. Now Karen's mother is also dead. Still reeling and grieving from the loss of her mother, a rather wooden and shell-shocked Karen heads to New Orleans to identify and claim her father's body.

At first Marc is inclined to dislike Karen; he has strong beliefs about taking care of family and he makes the assumption that Karen and her mother had abandoned the father. It doesn't take much time at all for Marc to realize he was wrong and instead he finds Karen to be a person he both admires and is attracted to. So he offers to help Karen with burial arrangements and is there to support her through the brief funeral ceremony. She, in turn, allows herself to accept the emotional comfort he offers when she breaks down under the weight of all she's had to deal with. All of which leaves to a night of intense lovemaking.

Meanwhile, a number of things just don't add up about the father's death. He was pretty healthy for a homeless guy and then another body is discovered in Mississippi that is clearly tied to the Whitlaw homicide. The second body triggers the interest of the CIA. Then things become even more complicated when Karen goes back to Columbus and is nearly killed twice in less than 24 hours. Because it turns out that Karen's father left behind a record of his sniper kills in Viet Nam and that book has some damaging information that someone wants to keep very private.

This is a fairly credible suspense story wrapped around a hot and fast romance. The characters of Marc and Karen are well fleshed-out. Karen's initial aloofness makes sense given her family background and the depth of her grief. Howard uses a small secondary story of Marc's police work to show us how he feels about his job. One of the things he wants to be able to do is talk about some of the darker aspects of his work with someone strong enough to understand what he goes through. Howard makes it clear that Karen and Marc are a couple who can be very supportive of one another. I appreciated the descriptions of the French Quarter and the Royal St. police station; Howard made these places come alive. I also had to laugh at one of the scenes set in Columbus. Marc and Karen go to the storage facility to find something Karen's father sent her mother just before his death. The name of the storage facility is "Buckeye Stockit and Lockit." Howard nailed it. Believe me, every third business in these parts is named Buckeye Something or Another.

Now, given this is a Linda Howard book, it should surprise no one that parts of it are rather over the top. Karen and Marc are in love by Day 3 and ready to make babies on Day 5. {Eye Roll.} And the villain acts a little too stupidly at the end. Still, these are minor quibbles over a book I literally inhaled while I spent 5 hours in the car on Saturday.

Oh! And there's sequel bait! A mysterious and shadowy CIA character struck me as hero material. So I had to look it up and lo and behold my book is the 1st of a trilogy. Mr. Mysterious is hero of Book 2, All the Queen's Men, which now proudly resides on my TBR pile. Here's the funny thing. Each month there's always a book that someone blogs about that sounds so intriguing I have to get my hands on it. This is the first time MY OWN BOOK caused me to add to Mt. TBR. Boom!



Comments

  1. So much for the challenge getting books off our mountain, right? Like who actually had trouble finding an author they had more than one book by? I think you'll enjoy the sequels.

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    1. I know, right? Glad to hear you think I'll like the sequels. Am really looking forward to the next one.

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  2. Phyl, I almost chose a Linda Howard book! Now I have to check my HUGE LH TBR pile to see if I have this one and All the Queen's Men. I have both SR and romance in my TBR. *g* (A whole double-shelf worth!)

    This same thing happened to me with a few of my own TBR reads. I'm surprised this is your first time? I already added Wendy's Wiggs read to my TBB list and I'm just starting my rounds. LOL!

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    1. I was surprised to realize I hadn't purchased the whole trilogy. That's not like me :)

      And yes, I've added the Wiggs TBB and purchased someone else's read. I have yours already, but it's still TBR, lol.

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  3. This was a new theme for this year - mostly for the selfish reason that I tend to glom back-lists. I could do TBR Challenges every month for several years just reading Susan Wiggs, Pamela Morsi, and Maggie Osborne.

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    1. I love this new theme! I had several authors to choose from, so I hope you use it again next year.

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  4. I have read a few Linda Howard books - but not this one. Romantic suspense is not my all time favourite, but I do read quite a few all the same!I see here and on her own post Wendy mentions Maggie Osborne, she is somebody I want to try out as I've heard good things.

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    1. It's been several years now, but I did read a couple of Maggie Osborne's and I liked them very much. I don't have any of hers in my TBR pile though. I should watch for Wendy's recommendations and see what is available digitally.

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