Published by Bantam books
Dark Paradise by Tami Hoag
New Eden in Montana is described as a beautiful unspoiled heaven on earth. Marilee Jennings decides to opt out of her life in the fast lane of court reporting and live with her friend Lucy in Eden. When she arrives there Lucy is dead in somewhat strange circumstances. Marilee finds romance and wants to get to the truth of Lucy’s death but there are a few people who want to silence her and bury the past.
This book has a lot of humour and romance. What it does not have is suspense and mystery. This is not the usual Hoag thriller as most readers will realise after about three hundred pages of almost nothing happening except sex and beautiful descriptions of the country-side. The plot develops very slowly and it is basically a romance with a few murders and deaths thrown in. The characters are ridiculously stereotyped; the heart of gold waitress with pearls of wisdom for everyone, Will, the boozing gambling womanising brother of J.D. Rafferty, the rough sexy cowboy, the blond tousled haired heroine who falls in love after the sexy cowboy sexually harasses her. Just not believable enough.
The book was too long by far and the people didn’t have much charm. There are a few loose ends which I could not reconcile, but maybe I had let my attention slip; the lawyer’s death made no sense to me and the attack in the hotel on Marilee was never resolved, we had to presume it was the killer. Also why did the dead friend Lucy have sex with J.D., this didn’t make much sense.
I normally really enjoy this writer’s work (Night Sins, Guilty as Sin) but felt this was in a much lesser category, and needed editing badly as it is too long a book for the plot (500+pages) and the descriptive content is repetitive. If the heroine’s hair was described one more time I would have ceremoniously burnt the book.
On a more positive note the descriptions of the country are great and the characters are very colourful but as I said clichéd. Having said all that, although I was disappointed, I did finish the book fairly quickly and was satisfied with the ending. Would be happy to recommend any of Tami Hoag’s other books before this one.