SUSAN DONOVAN – Knock Me Off My Feet.

St. Martin’s; paperback original. First printing: December 2002.

SUSAN DONOVAN Knock Me Off My Feet

   I was talking about novels of romantic suspense a short while back. This book isn’t quite what I had in mind, since what this is, when it comes down to it, is a romance novel, pure and simple, and nothing less.

   On the other hand, the criminous element that’s involved is exactly where the story begins and where it ends. If in the meantime it meanders off into a more-or-less standard does-he-will-she kind of love affair, I certainly believe it’s legitimate for me to talk about it here, and very much so.

   It starts when Chicago policeman Stacey Quinn is assigned to investigate who’s been sending threatening letters to the local equivalent of Martha Stewart, but he hardly expects “Homey Helen” to be breathtakingly beautiful Audie Adams. That may be the reason she’s also a woman that men tend to spook away from. In Quinn’s case, though, he’s the exception. It’s love at first sight.

   There is also a murder involved, you should not be surprised to learn. Audie’s mother died in a mugging incident a few months earlier. She was the original Homey Helen, who made millions on how-to advice, but who was totally dysfunctional when it came to her own family.

   The mystery and the crime-solving aspect of the investigation that are initiated from this are therefore real, albeit somewhat mechanical, nor is there any doubt about it — it’s the romance that causes the sparks.

   And as a short note to the unwary, take that last word literally. The lovemaking is both explicit and graphic. If filmed as is, there’s no chance in the world the movie could ever be shown on TV, even on HBO or Cinemax.

— December 2002 (slightly revised)