In the last of my Elizabeth Lowell Summer 2009 Marathon, I’m jumping out of the historicals and into a contemporary, Remember Summer. I was hoping that I’d get closer in general flavor to the sorts of suspense novels Lowell’s been writing for much of her recent career, and at least in some ways, that’s what I got; it was easy to see the progression from her historicals to this novel and on up to her later work. Still, this one’s got its feet planted way more on the romance side of the fence than on the suspense one.
I’ll give it props for the setting, though: it’s the Summer Olympics, and our heroine Raine Chandler-Smith is on the US equestrian team, aiming for the gold. But OHNOEZ, her father is a government official of Unspecified but Incredibly High Rank, and there’s an assassin on the loose! Our hero, the obligatory Operative of Unspecified Rank but Suitably Dangerous and Broody Competence, and who for purposes of this assignment is going by the name of Cord Elliott (side note: seriously? CORD? What kind of a name is CORD? A romance novel name, apparently), is on the case to keep Raine from getting shot right off her horse by way of being the appetizer for her father.
Definitely the sort of thing Lowell sank her teeth into with later work, but here, there’s way less suspense than I like and way more angsting about how OHNOEZ, Cord’s job is dangerous! And he’s all tired of it and burned out and Raine is all beautiful and stuff! Which was acceptable character fodder as it went, but after pages and pages of it, I was all “ENOUGH ALREADY now get to the shootings and suspense and stuff”.
Which the book did, eventually. With suitable suspenseful shootiness, and even a bit of a bittersweet ending that was appropriate given the Unspecified nature of Cord’s secret-agenty job. All in all, though, for Lowell suspense? You’ll really want to go to her later work. Two stars.