Book Review: The Ideal Man


Credit: Kiwi Mary

My nightmare began 25 years ago today.  The judge, who had previously held a loaded gun to my head and said with conviction that he could kill me and “get away with it,” left our home drunk with a pair of loaded guns.  It was the most terrifying night of my life, and I learned that I couldn’t count on the cops to protect me.

When he came home, he vowed that he would deprive me of my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  He knew how important these rights are to me because the Declaration of Independence was penned on my family’s paper.  He also vowed to destroy my faith in our “justice” system.

Well, fuck you, Bill Riggs.  I’m still standing.

August 8 was my beloved friend and guardian angel Winnie’s birthday.  When I decided to join the Address Confidentiality Program in Washington State in 1999, I planned my arrival to coincide with Winnie’s birthday.  Winnie’s sister Marci graciously hosted a memorial service to celebrate Winnie’s life and welcome me to Washington.

Winnie met her ideal man very late in life.  Winnie was uncertain about attending the wake for a member of her bridge club because she had never met her friend’s husband.  She went and came home absolutely giddy.  Claire was outrageously handsome, charming, brilliant, and rich.  Elderly widows buzzed around him constantly.  Winnie didn’t buzz.  She wore red, learned to brew tea, and listened to him complain about his sudden popularity.  She got her man and a huge rock on her finger.  They had 2 ½ wonderful years together before he passed away.  Winnie and Claire give me hope that one day I too will meet my ideal man.

Meanwhile, I have my love of books.  My very dear friend Kiwi Mary of World’s Best Book Club fame recommended Julie Garwood.  I opted to start reading her books with The Ideal ManOh, my!

He’s an FBI agent stationed in Honolulu.  After Dr. Eleanor (Ellie) Kathleen Sullivan removes a bullet from his partner’s shoulder, Max Daniels makes it his mission to protect the gorgeous surgeon from people who have been stalking her and very much want her dead.  Be still my heart.

Ellie is a child prodigy at the end of her surgical fellowship at St. Vincent’s trauma center in my hometown of St. Louis.  After finishing her last surgery, she goes out for a run and witnesses Calvin Landry shoot FBI agent Sean Goodman.  The Landrys have a long history of evading arrest and causing witnesses to disappear.  Uh, oh!

This isn’t Ellie’s first time at the stalking rodeo.  Evan Patterson has been obsessed with her since the two met at science camp.  When she was eleven, he assaulted her.  Despite being under a restraining order, his stalking escalated until he succeeded in kidnapping her.  He brutally beat her and left her for dead in a ravine.  When she recovered, her parents took her to St. Louis to hide out.

Julie Garwood

You’re letting that bastard, Patterson,
continue to run your life.
Julie Garwood, The Ideal Man

Patterson has been discharged from a mental hospital, and nobody ~ including the FBI ~ knows where he is.  Ellie is slated to go home to South Carolina for her sister’s wedding to Ellie’s ex-fiance.  Is Patterson waiting for a final, deadly encounter with Ellie in Winston Falls?  Yep.

The hitman hired by the Landrys is there too.  Yikes!

When bullets start to fly, every woman who has ever been stalked yearns to have someone like FBI Agent Max Daniels to protect her.  Ruggedly handsome, a wicked sense of humor, and sizzling sexual prowess are indeed a bonus.

There’s a lot to love about The Ideal Man.  It is a delightful blend of romance, mystery, suspense, and humor.  Perfect beach book.  Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Winnie!  I miss you and love you.

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