Wednesday, July 16, 2008

TBR Review: Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard

Published: 2000

Mr. Perfect is a contemporary romantic suspense story by author Linda Howard. The heroine, Jaine Bright, goes out for dinner and drinks with three of her colleagues every Friday night to unwind after the long workweek. Jaine, Luna, Marci, and T.J. each work in different departments within a rather large company and are also very different women in personality as well as lifestyle. Jaine is single; Luna is in a hot and cold dating relationship with a superstar athlete; Marci is living with a younger boyfriend who is essentially her boy toy; and T.J. is married, but unsure if her marriage is still solid. During one of their Friday nights out, the three friends have some fun and make a list of eight requirements for their "Mr. Perfect." What starts out as a joke between friends soon gets out of hand when the list goes public and the nation has fun with it. Family members, husbands, and boyfriends aren't thrilled with the list or the exposure and relationships are put to the test. Then the situation quickly goes from unpleasant to horrific when someone starts stalking the four women and one of them is murdered. As the murder mystery unravels and the women fear for their lives, Jaine and her detective neighbor, Sam Donovan, fall for each other.

Jaine has recently moved into her first ever house and is having difficulty getting along with her single male neighbor, Sam Donovan. At first she suspects Sam is an alcoholic drug dealer based on his appearances and the hours he keeps. They set off each other's tempers so quickly and easily, yet despite the hostile tension between them, there is this undeniable heat and attraction between them as well. It isn't until Jaine finds out that Sam is a cop that she backs off a bit, reevaluates her hostility toward him, and attempts some civility.

The bickering that went back and forth between Jaine and Sam was quite entertaining and I found myself looking forward to the scenes they were in together just for their fast paced and heated dialogue. The shift from hot tempered bickering to playful banter was smooth and natural. I adored the way Sam was the one to keep his cool and the way he would try to kiss or touch Jaine when her temper would flare up. I think in one instance he even had to hide his laughter over her short fuse, which was very endearing. Although the author was able to accurately portray Sam as a sexy, irresistible cop next door, I wasn't convinced why Jaine was so sexually intimate with him at the drop of a hat. The first time they make out, she's practically humping him in her driveway! It just seemed way too fast and furious for someone who couldn't stand him just two days before. No matter how hot the cop is. ***Spoiler*** Sam also asks Jaine to marry him during sex and it was either the first or second time they were together. She has been engaged three times in the past to three different guys and she says yes to Sam now? That was too unrealistic to me. ***End Spoiler***

Ms. Howard did a great job at introducing the friends and establishing their inter-relationships right from the beginning when the women were in the restaurant making The List. She was also effective at portraying the relationships of Jaine's three friends with their respective partners in a fulfilling way that didn't detract from the romance between Jaine and Sam, and in fact contributed to the quality of the story. ***Spoiler*** One of my favorite scenes in the book is between secondary character Luna and her boyfriend Shamal when he came to her apartment to work things out between them. I thought their relationship was a goner and that scene just totally tugged at my heart. Which, of course, set me up for a dramatic shock and sorrow. ***End Spoiler***

The murder mystery was a bit predictable, but was integral at increasing the tension of the story and most importantly at keeping Sam involved in Jaine's life. The murder plot started out interesting, but once I figured out who the murderer was, that portion of the story started to fall flat for me. And I don't think it was because I figured out the murderere early, but because the murderer's profile was overboard for me with way too many creepy oddities. ***Spoiler*** I would have been more content with the murderer being some troubled loner who was constantly reminded by his mother that he would never be "Mr. Perfect," then have all those other wacky characteristics. It just seemed like the author tried to hard to make him scary and demented where a troubled loner would have worked just as well and have not come across as too unbelievable.***End Spoiler***

The story is a nice blend of romance, friendship, and how a little fun between friends can get out of hand and impact relationships. I liked it well enough, my favorite components being the relationships between the girlfriends and the bicker-turned-banter between Jaine and Sam. What didn't work for me was the murderer's extra wacky profile and the unrealistic pacing of from initial sexual intimacy to being in love to getting married.



  1. ooh. Can't wait too see what you thought. Make sure to stop on over and add your 2cents to my book club while you're at it!

  2. I can't wait, either. I luurrve LH. :)

  3. I know LH is popular and so many readers love this book, but this story didn't WOW me. I would definitely read another book by LH, though. Her writing style is fun and fast paced, and its quite obvious she can write a sexy hero! :)

  4. hhhmm...may have to try this one...or at least read that book i have in my tbr of hers! lol

  5. *runs in squeeing*


    *hops about*


    *runs back out to look again*

  6. Because this is one of the first LH books I ever read, it holds a special place in my heart. I just love it...except for some of the people who end up dead. That hurt. But I love the whole relationship between Sam & Jaine. It was just so fun.

  7. I loved this one and it's one of my favourite Howard books.
    As for the short time - I just figured Jaine knew when she knew *g*

  8. Hot neighbor sex! Can't got wrong with that. ;D
    *grabs some blueberries from Christine and runs home*

  9. I'm with you Christine. It's not my favorite either. I'd have a hard time narrowing down my favorite Linda Howard, but it would probably be either Shades of Twilight or Dying to Please or maybe Dream Man. What I do love about Howard is that she writes amazing sexual tension. You get to the point where you feel like you'll explode if the couple doesn't jump in the sack. I re-read Mr. Perfect not too long ago, and while I found it to be a pleasant read, it's not my favorite. I also really love her Blair Mallory series. To Die For is one of my favorite funny reads.

  10. I read this some time ago (*coughyearscough*) and although wonderful, it wasn't one of my favorites of LH. The relationship itself wasn't too bad, but the murder aspect did feel a bit weak. The Luna shocker was not that pleasant for me. Bleh. At least it was an unexpected surprise. Great review! Hit a few points I thought about but was never able to forumlate in my tiny head. ;)

  11. Christine,
    This isn't my favorite, either. There are some hilarious scenes, but overall this is not LH's best work. Actually, IMO, this was kind of the start of her decline. I'd go back further (to novels released before this one) to see examples of her at her best.


    I'm sure this LH is the one where my favourite scene is the hot neighbour drinking orange juice in front of his window naked.

    And Jaine thinking as she's watching - I really must ring him and tell him I can see him. Better ring the neighbour and get his number. LOL.

  13. I've only read a couple of LH novels and haven't "loved" either of them. I think I'll take Holly's advice and go back to her earlier works and see what's goin on there.

    Great review my friend. :)

  14. Leslie,
    It is in fact this book. I think that scene is hilarious.

    I also loved the scene in the beginning where Jaine knocks over Sam's trash cans and then they have a yelling match. I love it when she pokes him in the chest and then thinks, "Ewww, now I have to boil my finger."

  15. Sorry for the double comment, but I meant to add:

    You should read Heart of Fire. It was amazing. ;0)

  16. Hmm... I bought this book recently (coughshannonsfaultcough) and haven't read it yet. *sigh* working more than fulltime sure does take up all that lovely reading time.

    Anyhooo, having not read any LH, should I bump this book closer to the top of the pile?

  17. OOh, I so want to read this. Thanks for the review and the clearly marked spoiler action.

  18. I enjoyed this book too, but it didn't *wow* me either. The murder mystery part was weak, and I found the whole "list gains national attention" highly unlikely (which is what one AAR reviewer said here:

    But I think that sexy cop made up for most of the quirks. :)

  19. LH's books are a mix of hits and misses for me. My fave is Heart of Fire. The heroine's resistance to the hero was more believable and it's packed with adventure.

  20. I am going on holidays next week and I will take this with me. I bought it for Shannon's book club but did not have time to read it, unfortunately.

    I will come back to read your review later!

  21. HOW BIZARRE. The chrisgpsi address above is my sister's! I had not realised she was logged on from my computer LOL.

  22. dd03 :: I actually think I have that LH book, too... was it Raintree Inferno? I need to check.

    Stacy :: I totally understand that special place for those author "firsts." I'm like that, too. Sam & Jaine were a fun couple.

    Kristie :: I believe in that "you just know when you know" philosophy, too, but the proposal still seemed too rushed for me. But they were very cute together!

    Kate :: I liked the neighbors to lovers plot. I don't think I've read that yet. It was fun.

    MK :: Thanks for the recs! You sound like quite the LH expert! ;)

    Alys :: I was so sad about Luna. :(

    Holly :: Heart of Fire. Check. Thanks for the rec :)

    Lesley :: YES! This is the book... that scene was quite cute. Especially when he told her she could have just closed her curtains! lol

    Tracy :: Let me know if you want to read Heart of Fire with me for a duo book review sometime.

  23. Aymless & CJ & Ana :: Let me know when you read Mr. Perfect so we can discuss!

    JenB :: I agree with all your points. And yeah, sexy cop definitely makes up for a few points on this one.

    Jennybrat :: Another vote for Heart of Fire! Thanks for the rec. (..and welcome to my blog! Thanks for stopping by!) :)

    Ana :: LOLOL And to think I got excited thinking I had a new blogging friend! ;p

  24. I haven't taken the time to read anything by Ms. Howard for a long time. :( It sounds like there's a big of a tear terker mixed in there.

    Great review Christine! :)

  25. So this is waiting for me to pick up and I'm not sure I want to read it now...I guess I should I meant to have it read for Shannon's book club but didn't get it in time.

  26. Shannon lurves this book, but I haven't found a copy yet. I wasn't impressed with LH's SON OF THE MORNING, and COVER OF NIGHT hasn't captured my attention so far. I put it aside after a few chapters. I think I like a more complex style, more metaphor and simile, layered description. I love varied impressions of books can be - it gives me hope that someone somewhere will like my writing, even on days I don't. :P thanks for the review!

  27. Ciara,
    PLEASE don't judge LH by Cover of Night. That has to be the worst book she ever wrote (with the exception of All That Glitters, but we don't count that since it was like her very first published novel). It was awful. My eyes almost bled. *shudder*

    Really, read Heart of Fire. That book rocks my socks.


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