Goodbye Arizona by Claude Dancourt

GOODBYEARIZONA
Goodbye Arizona by Claude Dancourt
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (69 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

The last time free-lance journalist Deborah Stone invaded Marcus Turner Jr.’s privacy, it nearly cost her their relationship. If he finds her this time, she has little hope their love affair will survive. But she can’t resist a mystery, and Marcus’s presence at the annual Romance Society’s gathering falls right into that category. Does he know anything about the threat against the nominees for the famous Sue’s award? Deb is determined to get to the bottom of this story, no matter the consequences.

Marcus plans to rock the small world of Romantic Suspense, and he can’t afford having Deborah blow his cover before he’s ready to make his move. Unfortunately, he’s never been able to resist her, in or out of bed. He needs a chance to win her back before his plan backfires. But with one author dead and another in the hospital, the clock is already ticking down.

Deb can’t believe she’s reduced to snooping in Marcus’ hotel room – again. Determined to get more fodder for her news articles she can hardly believe her luck when she strikes gold. Too late, she realizes Marcus is onto her little cat and mouse games. Will she be able to talk her way out of trouble and into his bed?

This is an interesting story. While it took me quite some time to warm to Deb’s character, I greatly enjoyed Marcus and his writing career. I really disliked how Deb almost stalked Marcus, sneaking into his hotel room and then threatened to lie and say she was invited for sexual reasons when he tried to throw her out. If it had been a man doing these actions to a woman I would have stopped reading the book there and then. I felt the stalker behavior and threat of the lies would have been a complete turn-off in a hero – borderline abusive. So it wasn’t much very tasteful to my mind even though the genders of this action were reversed.

It also took me quite some time to piece together the sort of relationship Marcus and Deb had. I hated how confused I felt in multiple parts – I really would have preferred if the author had made their relationship (complex as it was) clearer much earlier on so I didn’t have to backtrack multiple times trying to work things out.

I also found Deb’s thought process to be rather murky. Initially she seemed completely focused on wanting her story and seemed willing to do anything, include break the law, to get her precious scoop. Later, when I thought I had a bit of a handle on her, she shocked me when she kept insisting that the murders had nothing to do with the awards or the favourite author slated to win. It had originally been Deb raising this possible threat to Marcus – insisting it was credible and murder might be performed, yet when this actually starts happening she kept insisting it was a coincidence and nothing untoward was happening. I think I would have really appreciated having Deb’s motives and real purpose/desires more clearly explained and stuck to. This might have helped me connect better with her character and enjoy her – and possibly her antics – far more.

Thankfully, Deb came good in the end. While it didn’t really get rid of my initial dislike for her, deep down Deb does care for Marcus. And Marcus was a fun and interesting character. As a writer he bucks the norm for not just “regular” hero material in a story – but also for what most consider gender sterotypes in the real world. I loved reading about a male writer and the different types of bias and problems they might truly be treated with in real life. It was eye-opening and kept my interest riveted.

The murder sub-plot was also really quite interesting. I enjoyed trying to put together who the killer was. There were really very few clues leading up to the big reveal – though I did manage to guess the true reasoning behind the killings. I thoroughly enjoyed the pace of the story – the intrigue keeps things moving at a quick rate and I really liked how Marcus and Deb needed to roll with the punches and just keep moving forward.

Overall I found this to be an interesting, sexy read with a solid sub-plot and some hot, sexy scenes.

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