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Murder List by Julie Garwood
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The book is ok. The story is engaging; but there's something flat about it. I think Garwood's strong point is creating characters that can play parts in other novels in the series. ( )
  lesmel | Nov 17, 2014 |
It's been a really long time since I've read one of Julie Garwood's romantic suspense novels, since before I started writing reviews to be exact. Murder List was a pretty good read, and about on par with what I remembered of the other books in the Buchanan series, but not quite up to the caliber of some other romantic suspense authors I've read more recently. Having a killer on the loose, who seems to be obsessing on the heroine, worked reasonably well from a suspense/thriller perspective, but the mystery surrounding this part of the story was a little weak in my opinion. I'd be quite surprised if readers figure it out before the reveal, as the breadcrumb trail leading to the culprit was pretty sparse. I really prefer when the author can engage me in actively trying to solve the mystery rather then being a passive bystander. The romance needed a little more pizazz too. Other than a mutual attraction, not much happens between Alec and Regan for more than half the book. They don't even kiss. Then about ¾ of the way in, things finally get moving, but it all kind of happens at once. There is only one moderately descriptive love scene which I did find romantic, but then things cooled down as Alec prepares to move and Regan believes it was just a one-night stand. I could tell that they really liked one another, but I wasn't entirely convinced that it was enough to build a lifetime commitment on.

Alec and Regan were pretty typical of Julie Garwood's heroes and heroines. Alec is what I like to call the alpha with a heart. He's attractive in a messy, un-put-together sort of way. He's a cop who's good at what he does and knows it, but is about to make a move to the FBI. His lieutenant gave him the job of bodyguard to Regan for his last few weeks in town as retaliation for him leaving the force and for making the guy look bad during a confrontation. Once Alec gets to know Regan, he seems rather amused and endeared by her quirks and intensely possessive and protective of her. I thought it was very sweet that he didn't want to spend the night at her hotel suite after they made love, because he was concerned about her reputation. Regan is a hotel heiress ala Paris Hilton, but much, much nicer and more intelligent. While her two older brothers run the family business, she runs the family's philanthropic efforts. Being so much younger than her brothers and not having involved parents, Regan has kind of gotten lost in her brothers' shadows, so it was rather funny when she started fighting back against their overbearing natures. Regan is not unlike most of Julie Garwood's other heroines in that she can by turns be a little too emotional, a little too nosy, and a little clumsy, while still being kind-hearted, and underneath it all, she's strong when she needs to be. She's also quite attractive, but mostly unaware of her physical beauty. Alec and Regan are both very likable characters, but I wouldn't exactly call them stand-outs. There just wasn't enough character development for that.

There were a number of secondary characters in the story. I enjoyed the breezy interactions between Regan and her two best friends, Sophie and Cordie. Sophie is an outgoing journalist who is trying to get an investigative beat. I thought it was rather interesting that she was the daughter of an infamous con-man, and it looks like she gets her own book, Fire and Ice, later in the series. The most intriguing of the three to me though was Cordie. I think this was because of her dichotomy, or perhaps trichotomy as the case may be. She's a girlie girl, who as a science teacher is a bit of a geek, but she also does auto mechanic work on the side as something of a hobby. As I mentioned earlier, Regan's two oldest brothers, Aiden and Spencer can be pretty overbearing and overprotective, and tend to try Regan's patience. The youngest of the brothers, Walker, is a jet-setting race-car driver who we don't see much of in the story, but he still factors into it. I think any of these three might make good hero material, and in fact, it seemed like something might be brewing between Aiden and Cordie, but nothing ever came of their seeming attraction. It might be interesting for these two to get together, but as of yet, it doesn't look like Ms. Garwood as written any books for them or the other Madison brothers. Since Alec is part of the large Buchanan clan, I was a little disappointed that we didn't get to see more of them. In fact, his brothers and sisters are really only mentioned in passing, but friend of the family, Noah Clayborne who has his own book, Shadow Dance, does get to have a couple of phone conversations with Alec.

Murder List has a rather leisurely beginning as the author introduces the reader to the hero, heroine and killer separately. At the time, they seemed to all be doing completely unrelated things, but gradually, their lives begin to intertwine. At that point, it became more involving, although at times the pacing was still a little slow for a mystery/suspense novel, in my opinion. Overall the story was pretty good and the writing itself fairly solid. Even with its flaws, Murder List still held my attention which is probably why I consider Julie Garwood to be a good author. Even when she's not at the top of her game, her books are still quite readable. Murder List is the fourth book in her Buchanan series, and I'll be looking forward to meeting and getting to know more of the Buchanan family in future books. ( )
1 vote mom2lnb | Nov 3, 2011 |
good story about a murder suspect trying to kill Regan madison and Alec Buchanan ( )
1 vote afarrington | Aug 23, 2011 |
Regan Hamilton supports her friend by going with her to a self-help seminar by Dr. Lawrence Shields, hoping to expose him as a shyster. As part of the seminar, the participants create a list of the people they would like gone from their lives. Regan titles her list, "Murder List." The people on her list begin to die, and other crazy things begin to happen.

This book is a very light, fun read. Do not expect deep characters, or thoughtful conversations. The characters feel instant sexual attractions, and fall into bed quickly, for life time commitments. ( )
1 vote Glenajo | Jun 24, 2011 |
To me, it read like a romance novel trying to be a mystery. Not my cup of tea, I guess. ( )
  steenface | Mar 17, 2009 |
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The first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Briarwood School was the worst day of Regan Hamilton Madison's life.
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Book description
Hotel heiress Regan Hamilton Madison is flirting with danger. She agrees to help a journalist friend expose Dr. Lawrence Shields, a shady self-help guru who may have been responsible for the death of one of his vulnerable devotees. Hoping to find some damning evidence, Regan attends a Shields seminar, where the doctor has his guests make a list of the people who hays hurt or angered them over the years and asks: Would your world be a better place if these people ceased to exist? Treating the exercise as a game, Regan plays along.

The experience is all but forgotten--until the first person on Regan's list turns up dead. Shock turns to horror when another name from her list surfaces as a corpse. While brutal murders seem to stalk Regan's every move, her attraction to the detective assigned to protect her grows. As the menace intensifies and a serial killer circles, Regan must discover who has turned her private revenge fantasies into grisly reality.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345453832, Mass Market Paperback)

There are few authors who can weave nail-biting thrills, edge-of-your-seat drama, and romantic suspense as masterfully as Julie Garwood. Now she ratchets up the tension with Murder List, in which evil is on the hunt– and proves to be methodically organized and chillingly successful.

When Chicago detective Alec Buchanan is offered a prime position with the FBI, it is the perfect opportunity to leave the Windy City and follow in his brothers’ footsteps to the top echelons of law enforcement. But first he must complete one last assignment (and one that he is not too happy about): acting as a glorified bodyguard to hotel heiress Regan Hamilton Madison. The gorgeous exec has become entangled in some potentially deadly business. Someone has e-mailed her a graphic crime-scene photo–and the victim is no stranger.

Regan suspects that the trouble started when she agreed to help a journalist friend expose a shady self-help guru who preys on lonely, vulnerable women. In fact, the smooth-as-an-oil-slick Dr. Lawrence Shields may be responsible for the death of one of his devotees, which was ruled a suicide. Hoping to find some damning evidence, Regan attends a Shields seminar.

At the gathering, the doctor persuades his guests to partake in an innocent little “cleansing” exercise. He asks them to make a list of the people who have hurt or deceived them over the years, posing the question: Would your world be a better place if these people ceased to exist? Treating the exercise as a game, Regan plays along. After ten minutes, Shields instructs the participants to bring their sheets of paper to the fireplace and throw them into the flames. But Regan misses this part of the program when she exits the room to take a call–and barely escapes a menacing individual in the parking lot.

The experience is all but forgotten–until the first person on Regan’s list turns up dead. Shock turns to horror when other bodies from the list start to surface, as a harrowing tango of desire and death is set into motion. Now brutal murders seem to stalk her every move–and a growing attraction to Alec may compromise her safety, while stirring up tender emotions she thought she could no longer feel. Yet as the danger intensifies and a serial killer circles ever closer, Regan must discover who has turned her private revenge fantasies into grisly reality.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:17 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Agreeing to attend a seminar as a favor to a reporter friend, Regan Madison takes part in an exercise in which guests identify those who have hurt them, but the exercise takes a lethal turn when those on her list begin to turn up dead.

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