Gabriel West: Still the One, by Fiona Brand

>> Wednesday, July 23, 2003

I've just finished Gabriel West: Still the One, by Fiona Brand.

The breakup of her marriage had been devastating, but Tyler Laine had rebuilt her life and now moved in a world of money and privilege, a far cry from the mean streets of his world. And yet Gabriel West, ex SAS agent and her estranged husband, still haunted her nights with dreams of what might have been. Then someone decided Tyler would be better off dead, and she knew there was only one man who could protect her....

For years, Gabriel had dreamed of a second chance with Tyler-so when she asked for his protection, he was more than happy to oblige. He'd found a way back into her life-now if only he could find a way back into her heart....
Brand's is a name that's always mentioned when readers are looking for recs for books similar to Suzanne Brockmann's but I didn't spot any similarities. Maybe the fact that the characters are military, or rather, in this case, former military, but that's about it.

In any case, I didn't like this book at all. A D+.

My main problem with it was that I just didn't come to care for the characters. Both Gabriel and Tyler were a mystery to me. They are given interesting backstories, but these issues are never developed. There is such an emphasis on the suspense, that we don't get to know the characters, and their relationship doesn't develop at all. Gabriel just comes back and Tyler welcomes him with open arms, and that's it. They never discuss why this time their relationship would work, or what went wrong the first time. Not only that, they don't even give the relationship a little time to see if everything will go ok, they immediately start trying to get pregnant. Really smart decision.

I get the feeling we're supposed to know more about these characters than I did, and that's something else that annoyed me. This book was very obviously part of a series, one I haven't read, and all these characters I didn't know kept appearing all over the place. There's even this little reference "So and so was psychic, although he would deny it to everyone except his wife". Huh? As I said, very annoying.

The suspense subplot was very, very boring. I ended up skimming the last 60 pages at full speed, just trying to get it over with. I'm not fond of those "international crime" plots, with multimillion deals going down, and this one was this. And then there was the very unbelievable villain. We meet him only in the last pages, and it turns out he wasn't just a crooked dealer, he was a serial killer, seriously psycho, who had targeted Tyler. That part came completely out of the blue.

I don't know if this one is a good example of Brand's books, but unless I get many, many recs, from trusted sources, I don't think I'd try one of hers again.

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