This past week, my book club gathered to discuss “Shattered”, by Karen Robards. It’s a contemporary romance, filled with murder and intrigue. Lisa Grant is a lawyer returned to her childhood home to care for her ailing mother when she stumbles across a decades old mystery that may involve her family. Along the way, she’s helped – distracted? – by her boss, and former acquaintance, Scott Buchanan.
I’d mentioned before that I’ve read a few of Karen Robards’ contemporary romances – she also writes historical romance. This one was new for me though, and apparently new to those who were able to make it to this month’s gathering. I believe it was enjoyed for the most part, and I was not alone in being the only one who doesn’t generally read the romantic suspense/crime drama genre.
Here are a few thoughts and observations from our discussion this past Sunday. I’ll try to keep it spoiler free for those of you who may not have read the story yet, and still intend to.
“I liked the flow of the story…and it always amazes me when authors can create all these loose ends and then tie them all together…the clues that are left all along the journey.”
This comment was made after I’d remarked that I’m a bit slow when it comes to figuring out the whodunnits in a story such as this. I may write it, but if a mystery isn’t spelled out for me by the end, I’d likely never figure it out. And I wasn’t alone in that!
“I am so dim too follow clues with thriller/suspense books and films too. I drive my poor hubby crazy asking what is happening in the film.”
As mentioned above, this wasn’t the usually selected genre for the readers involved this go ’round. However, this story was easy enough to get into, even if it’s not something one is used to reading.
“It wasn’t my genre but I like how it led you in and was very winding.”
It does start off slow, not jumping right into a twisty, complex murder plot right away. It sort of crept up on you and before you know it, you’re right in the thick of it.
While it was technically a good story, with an engaging plot, there was some difficulty in relating to the main characters at first. It seemed a bit forced or contrived at first, that Lisa returned home and all but had to beg for a job from Scott, who apparently held a grudge against her from their youth. Scott’s anger and bitterness over the past was also tough to understand. Sure, we’ve all been hurt by someone in the past but to continue nursing such a grudge seems extreme.
“I didn’t get [Scott's] character. I think she was trying to do alpha male crossed with chip in shoulder. Instead he came across as a dink.”
Definitely. As mentioned above, it was hard to get behind the character at first. On the other hand, it did set the two leads up for some nice romantic – lusty? – tension in the near future. And that is half the fun, isn’t it? It’s a romance first, mystery second, after all.
“All her male characters were quite flawed actually. It was a good read though, the story was very strong.”
Also true. You find out more about each character as you get further into the story and it makes it that much more enjoyable, to realize how human each individual is. Makes them more relatable in the end. In Scott’s case, his father is another of those flawed males and once you read about that history, it makes you understand a bit more of his motivation now.
“As to Scott and the sexual frustration thing… His dad did a number on him and his mom not being around did as well. Kids of alcoholics are like military kids in that they grow up very fast and loose their innocence almost before they can walk.”
Very good insight on Scott’s character there.
“Don’t mind flawed male characters, he was sexy after all.”
And now we get to the heart of it. He was sexy, once you got past the first few chapters. All that pent-up and latent frustration needs an outlet at one point or another and reading some of the ensuing interactions between Lisa and Scott was very entertaining. Particularly one scene in an elevator. Oh yes. Something about those enclosed spaces, huh?
“Confined spaces make sexual tension sizzzzzle!”
“I like being pushed against a wall…LOL…very hot….leads to some really steamy kisses.”
Interesting input. I promised to consider enclosed spaces when writing my next Ice romance.
Of course, like any good book club, discussion of the actual book morphed into discussions of other books and authors we might have an interest in. One reader mentioned Elizabeth Lowell as a preferred writer of the romantic suspense genre. I seconded that, though I’d only read a couple of hers. I’m not a crime/mystery reader after all. For romance and action, there was Christine Feehan and her Carpathian series, or Stephanie Laurens and her Cynster series. I’ve not read any of those two writers but when looking for something new, I’ll definitely be considering them.
From there, the discussion changed to preferred writers of the supernatural, and numerous young adult authors – one of the book cub readers has a ten year-old voracious reader who enjoys vampires, and werewolves and magic, oh my! (Off topic, there were a lot of good writers and series in those genres mentioned, but as they have little to do with today’s topic, I’ve left them off today’s post. However, if you’re looking for something new in the supernatural romance genre, or interested in any number of young adult or age appropriate options, please send me a message through the ‘Contact Tamara’ tab at the top. I can send you the list. Some really good ones, let me tell you. )
In conclusion, while not ground-breaking or earth-shattering, was a very enjoyable read. It had some interesting characters that were human and believable, and a mystery that was wrapped up nicely in the end, with a fun twist on the ending that made me smile. Also, who doesn’t love all that sexual tension? There was some nice closure to that, believe me. And I’m not just talking about the elevator scene, though that was some heart-pounding fun before the real, er… climax.
I haven’t sorted out when the next book club gathering will be, or what the next book selection will be. I’ll keep everyone informed here, and via email. If you’re interested in joining, there’s always room for more. Please send me a message via the ‘Book Club’ tab at the top of my page here, and I can add you to the email distribution list.
In other news, I’ve been making some progress on my next TAITS novel for release, though I’m stumped a bit on creating a cover page. I’m also hoping to release another old favorite on Kindle and Smashwords in the near future, once I’ve revised it to something closer to my original Lit offering. And I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on brand new works. Some to be released on Lit, and others for publication only. I have no timelines to share at the moment but, as always, I will keep you informed.
Thank you again to those who were able to make it last week to book club. I had a great time, naturally. To everyone else, I hope you’ve been having a lovely weekend.
Take care and happy reading.