16 August 2010

Review: I fell a little in lurv with a ghost. Suzanne Brockmann - Infamous

Website author

Ballantine Books
In stores: July 27, 2010
Cover Price: $7.99
First time in print!
Book origin: Personal Library

Cover Summary:
In her first original paperback in more than six years, New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann delivers an unforgettable novel of contemporary romance and thrilling suspense.

When history professor Alison Carter became a consultant to the film version of the Wild West legend she’d dedicated her career to researching, she couldn’t possibly know that she would not only get a front row seat to a full-blown Hollywood circus, but that she would innocently witness something that would put her life in danger. Nor did she expect that a tall stranger in a cowboy hat would turn the movie -- and her world -- completely upside down…

A.J. Gallagher didn’t crash the set in dusty Arizona to rub elbows with Hollywood’s elite. Unable to ignore ghosts from the past that refuse to stay buried, A.J. came to put an end to the false legend that has tarnished the reputation of his family. But when he confronts Alison, sparks fly. And when she becomes targeted by ruthless criminals, suddenly she and A.J. must face the intense attraction that threatens to consume them, in order to survive the danger that threatens their very lives.

My Review: I have only read one other Brockmann novel but in both cases I have enjoyed this author’s ability to entwine the past with the present. I must say that the beginning of INFAMOUS did not impress me all that much and I wasn’t sure if this story was going to ‘do it’ for me. Nevertheless, in the first hundred and twenty-five pages it was the mystery of Silas Quinn’s legend that kept pulling me back in rather than the suspense that came along with the murder or the romance budding between A.J and Alison. The murder felt very low-key and so out of sync with the rest of the story that I had a hard time grasping the connection to the actual story being told. With the murder being easily pushed to the background it was the legend of Silas Quinn, his wife Melody and a gambler named Jamie Gallagher who really caught my interest.

The legend of Silas Quinn’s epic love for his wife Melody, his heroic effort to defeat the Kelly gang in the wild west and the tragic death of his wife by the hand of Jamie Gallagher was a well known story in American history. This legend contained all that I love in a legend. First of all, nothing is what it seems, there is a vicious enemy to hate, a resilient heroine to admire, an anti-hero to cheer for, a tragic love to be swept away by and events that got glossed over by the victor in this legend. However, Jamie Gallagher had a story to tell…even though he was no longer among the living.

At the start I really had to make an effort to stay in to this story with a plethora of characters being introduced, various story threads being set-up and the main characters to get to know. I was also thrown out of my reading rhythm by the fact I had a hard time to distinguish the ghost narration by Jamie Gallagher. He sometimes was interacting with A.J. but often I was also inside his head, getting a piece of his inner thoughts and this wasn’t emphasized by an italic font or anything else that made me aware I was suddenly inside Jamie’s head, or that he was recapping certain events from the past. As the story progressed I got a feel for Jamie’s narration but I feel it was an unnecessary struggle if it was printed differently.

INFAMOUS may not have started with a bang writing wise but I did fall for the main characters! Alison is a history professor working as a consultant on the set of the latest movie made about the legend of Silas Quinn. She is a woman who gets completely absorbed by her profession and subject, is someone who is very focused on the detail and methodically in acquiring information. Yet underneath all that sufficiency hides a passionate woman who has so much more to share and to give then her intelligence. I really liked Alison, she is a bit of an info geek on the time period of Silas Quinn. One of her first conversations with A.J is where she scalds him for wearing briefs under his jeans, that is not done for this movie’s time period, and yes, she can notice if a guy is wearing briefs under his jeans which frankly impressed me. On the other hand, her feelings, her insecurities and doubts regarding A.J and his statement he sees one dead person, is believable and heartwarming at the same time.

A.J. is a man who didn’t push my buttons but I still liked him so very much. He is an emotionally wounded hero which turned him in to an introvert and a loner, but with Alison he was also kind and charming with a core of virility that left no doubt he wanted Alison with all his pent up desires. He is a man who went through hell at some point in his life and erected walls in protection and to see them crumbling down was heart tugging and at times a bit emotional. The fact that he hasn’t been among crowds for very long added a clumsy note to his behavior and interaction which was adoring at times and didn’t diminish his manliness. His interaction with his deceased great-grandfather and the problems stemming from that interaction gives this story a humorous note. I often had to smile or giggle and Jamie Gallagher is a huge contributor to me loving this story so.

Jamie Gallagher was just as important to tell this tale as A.J and Alison were. Sometimes you meet characters that almost overpower the story with their larger than life persona and share a love story that moves you to tears. This is what Jamie did for me, he charmed my in all his outlaw ways and made a believer out of me in what an incredible man he really was. He “reconnected” with his great grandson to finally have the truth on the table about his side of the story what happened in Jubilation. That story is given by diary fragments and Jamie’s own recap of events. He is the kind of infamous man whose own code of honor made him a man I could love. Who inspired his children and family, and as the story progressed I totally understood why he had that effect on them. He wasn’t perfect but the depth of his emotions made him a hero nonetheless.

Everything in INFAMOUS was gradual, the mystery took it’s time to unravel but always kept it on a level of fascinating, the romance was a slow-burn one but when it ignited the hunger, the craving between Alison and A.J it was palpable on the pages. The issues that raised between A.J and Alison due to the fact Jamie Gallagher was a ghost, and A.J. could talk to him, were realistic and believable. Though I think in the end the solution of whether or not Alison believed A.J. was a bit on the easy side, there was just so much more going on I didn’t think about it until writing this review.

With four hundred and thirty-three pages there is a lot going on, much more then I can talk about but what I loved so much was the steady increase of romance, mystery and character depth that created an ending that moved me to tears. I rather have a story beginning slow but ending with a bang then the other way around and INFAMOUS was the former allowing me to totally fall in love with the main characters, which not only included A.J. and Alison but also Jamie Gallagher, Hugh Darcy, Melody and the many Gallagher’s in Heaven, Alaska.

INFAMOUS is not a perfect story yet there is a powerful combination to be found of a past romance, entwined with a present, budding one. A legend mystery to unravel that kept my eyes glued to the pages and in the end everything culminated in to a romance-high that made my heart ache a bit to end this story.

4 stars

Quote A.J.:
That was the word she used to describe herself – fit. A.J. would’ve used other words. Like holy shit and sweet baby Jesus.
A)If it were up to me Alison, you’d never wear clothes again. Nor, for that matter, would I…

Quote Graig Lutz talking with A.J. about his ghost great-grandfather:
From what you just told me, he was just filling my spot until you got your ass in gear and called me. He got you back in habit of actually having a conversation, maybe asking for a little advice. Hey, you know what would really convince me that he was real? If he went into the future, just a few days, and found out the winning Calafornia SuperLotto numbers.”
“I don’t think he can time travel,” A.J. said.
“Have you asked him?” Lutz asked. “because if we win a few hundred million dollars? Neither one of us will ever have a problem getting laid again. You can be batshit crazy with that kind of money, my friend. And you’ll still have three-ways, every night.”
“I don’t do three-ways,” A.J. said.
“And there’s the proof that you’re batshit crazy,” Lutz said. >>I ditto that sentiment!

Quote Alison:
Alison sat at the kitchen table I her quirky little rented house in Junilation, Arizona, as a man who claimed to be the great-grandson of the infamous outlaw, Jamie “Kid” Gallagher, sat down across from her.
A man she’d spent most of the evening having sex with.
Great sex.
Fabulous sex.
Creative, inventive, extraordinary, laughter-filled, passionate sex.
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  1. Wonderful review Leontine!
    You know why, even though Suzanne Brockmann is high on my TBB list with her Troubleshooters, INFAMOUS is not a book I am jumping to buy or read and your review explains everything so clear that I am now convinced that I really should stick with the Troubleshooters for this author. As others have pet peeves in books, I don't have many but ghosts is definitely one of them...
    Still glad to read that you did eventually really enjoy this book!

  2. Great review Leontine!

    I haven't read Brockmann before but she's got a huge fan base including one J.R. Ward. ;)

    You know, sometimes the slow to burn romances are worth their weight in gold. It's kind of a like a long term investment where you don't see the reward until late in the game but boy is it sweet. This sounds to be what happened for you and INFAMOUS. And over four hundred pages is quite the investment!

    I'm not much of a fan of romantic suspense because the suspense elements tend to fall short but when they're good, they're generally really good.

    I don't think I'll be buying this one but I know I've got a Brockmann book somewhere in my stacks...

  3. Awesome review!! Sounds like the ghost story was really good!!

  4. Great review Leontine!
    I have heard much about her, but yet to try her, but I do like the sound of this hihi

  5. Great review, Leontine! I was actually at the store yesterday and saw this one for really cheap, so I was going to pick it up. But, after reading through the first couple of pages while standing in the aisle, it really didn't draw me in, so I put it back. Maybe I should have given it more of a try? It sounds interesting, but lately I'm in a very specific type of reading mode, and this just didn't seem to fit the style I'm looking for right now. But I'll keep in mind for later!

  6. Great review girl. I read this one a couple of weeks ago and I have to tell you I felt the same way. I have been really up and down with Brockmann these days and was hesitant to pick this up! But she didn't dissapoint, it rocks!


  7. So you have to stick with this one but it sounds worth the wait :)

    I need to start reading more of her..I think I would like her books.

  8. I have this one on my shelf waiting for me - I'm saving it up. I didn't read all of the review - I want to be surprised but my very favourite Brockmann is Heart Throb - one of her single titles and I have high hopes for this one.

    Oh, and I heart that cover!

  9. I've really been meaning to read this author. This one looks good and I love the cover. Thanks for the review Leontine. :)

  10. Great review-it makes me want to read this book right now! I love books like this, and haven't read one of hers in a very long time!

  11. I'm having trouble getting into this one. I don't know if part of it is because I stopped reading when I went on vacation, and then Mockingjay was released so I re-read the first two books then read Mockingjay and that interruption has mad it difficult to get back into or what?

    It might end up being a DNF for me. :(


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