My Kindle To-Be-Read Shelf overfloweth, in spite of my efforts to whittle it down to a reasonable size. The root of the problem is that, when I discover a new (at least to me) author that I love, I feel compelled to buy all her books for—you guessed it—my TBR Shelf.
In the case of Nancy Brophy, for example, I read one couldn’t-put-it-down humorous romantic suspense, CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE, and promptly added her other three books to my TBR shelf. You do the math.
CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE opens with a last-Saturday-before-Christmas tear-jerker scene during which I totally fell in love with her cop-hero, Grant, a devoted single father. She sprinkled in just enough humor to avoid being maudlin, and added a ticking clock to end all ticking clocks and the highest stakes a parent can have: Grant’s three-year-old daughter is dying from leukemia with no bone marrow donor in sight. I was completely and totally sucked into the story.
Ms. Brophy’s heroine, Dori Connors, owns Luscious Foods catering company. She’s selling the company for enough money to do pretty much anything she wants, but beyond a tropical vacation, she doesn’t really know what she wants. (We can guess—after all, this is a romance—but that doesn’t spoil the story in the least. Dori’s strong, independent nature makes her a good match for police detective Grant. When Grant and his partner go undercover as temp bartenders at Dori’s last party to try to bust a theft ring, it gets really hot in the kitchen before things go south quicker than you can say Spanish coffee.
Nancy Brophy has owned a catering company, and her expertise shines through in this book without overkill. Suffice it to say that, although the setup offers plenty of room, Ms. Brophy deftly avoids the cliché trap. Her plot is full of unpredictable twists and turns that kept me guessing along with her characters.
And speaking of characters, I’ve only scratched Grant and Dori’s surfaces here. They are fully-drawn, believable story people with more layers than a drug lord’s wedding cake. The sexual tension between them is hot enough to fry an egg on the page, although they both have good reasons to try to resist their mutual attraction. The secondary characters, from three years old to sixty, walked right off the pages and into my heart. The subplots serve to enhance the main story.
Humorous, compassionate and wise, Nancy Brophy alternately made me laugh out loud (often when I least expected to) and brought tears to my eyes. (Which shocked me. I do not cry easily.)
My Rating: A KEEPER
Written by an author whose only fault is having only four books out so far, CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE is a wonderful book readers will save to read again and again.