I’m a huge fan of Julie Garwood. She’s one of my favorite historical romance authors and I also like her contemporaries. I thoroughly enjoyed her last book, The Ideal Man, and I was anxiously waiting for Sweet Spot. I regret to say that I was very disappointed.
Olivia is an IRS agent and an attorney that works with children in danger. She’s investigating a Ponzi scheme to bring her father down. In the middle of a job interview, she interrupts an FBI investigation. Grayson Kinkaid, the agent in charge, is equal parts pissed and attracted to Olivia. He doesn’t want a serious relationship so they flirt a bit and leave at that. But when she is attacked, he realizes that keeping her safe means keeping her close.
This book started so well. It opens with a flashback that gives us some insight into Olivia’s childhood as well as her friends’. When she was a kid she suffered from what I assume was cancer and went through a series of brutal treatments. She bonded with three girls that were going through the same and they remained best friends. Then there’s the scene where she confronts one of the bad guys, it made me feel like it would be a fun, interesting story with a strong heroine. But it all fell apart in a mess of unnecessary subplots and an underdeveloped, boring main story.
The romance was weak and the characters lacked the usual spark. Olivia and Grayson shared no chemistry and the romance was bland. While I was reading the book, I had to battle the urge to skim through it because I wasn’t interested in the story.
The bad guys were cartoonish, with no redeeming qualities, depth or even motivation. They were just evil for the sake of it. So the suspense aspect of the plot was just as bland and uninteresting as the rest of the book.
As I said before, the book lacked focus. There’s a subplot involving one of the friends that gets sick again. I thought that was the best part of the book, yet it was also predictable and unnecessary. Olivia works with troubled kids, so we have yet another subplot revolving around one of said kids. What’s worse, the filler characters and subplots were more entertaining that the main characters and plot.
Sweet Talk is a mediocre book. It’s not bad, I was able to finish it and I’m even wondering if one of the friends will get her own book. But it’s very disappointing because Ms. Garwood is a fantastic author that can do so much better. I’m just scratching my head wondering what happened.
Review by Brie
Attorney and IRS agent Olivia Mackenzie is the kind of tough, wise-cracking, powerful woman fans expect from a Garwood protagonist—but this time she has outdone herself. Olivia is not just any woman, she is every woman; flawed in the familiar ways so many of us are.
On the trail of an elaborate Ponzi scheme, one that threatens to ruin the lives of naïve and unsuspecting victims, Olivia suddenly finds her own life is in danger after she asks questions of the wrong people. She is accustomed to fighting for the underdog, but being vulnerable herself is a very different story. Smart enough to know when enough is enough, Olivia calls for reinforcements.
When she meets FBI Agent Grayson Kincaid there is an immediate and obvious attraction, palpable on both sides. Together they make an excellent team to fight corruption but Olivia is also fighting the immediate and intense attraction she feels for Agent Kincaid, and that may be a battle she is bound to lose.
Penguin. August 7, 2012.