After last year's bestselling Heartbreaker, her first venture into contemporary romantic suspense, Garwood turns out another of the same genre with equally crowd-pleasing results. Set alternately in posh New Orleans and in a swampy Louisiana bayou, the novel begins with the mercy killing of sickly, bedridden Catherine Bodine, wife of affluent attorney John Russell. John is the 30-something leader of what he and his three friends call the Sowing Club, their own high stakes embezzlement group, a secret society bound by a pact that will guarantee them millions in cash by the time they are 40. A shift to the romantic plot line introduces Department of Justice lawyer Theo Buchanan, doubled over in pain at an awards ceremony in New Orleans. Brilliant and striking surgeon Michelle Renard comes to Theo's rescue, performing an appendectomy, capturing his heart and leaving before Theo can thank her. Determined to show his gratitude, Theo follows the beautiful doctor to the backwater town of Bowen, La. Upon arrival, he finds Michelle distraught because she's being followed, her house has been broken into and her clinic ransacked. Theo hangs around to investigate and gets to know a slew of colorful country folk determined to feed him gumbo, cull free legal advice and make him the new high school football coach. Sparks fly furiously between Theo and Michelle, but bullets fly, too, when it becomes clear that Michelle is the one person who can hinder the Sowing Club's greedy ambitions. Garwood serves up a well-paced and absorbing read sure to satisfy readers who seek a bit of danger in love. Doubleday Book Club and Rhapsody Book Club main selection.(Sept.)
Forecast:This strong offering will hit bestseller lists hard and early—and deservedly so.