Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Every Move You Make" by Carla Cassidy

Annalise Blakely is the owner of a company that creates handcrafted dolls. One day she receives a package that includes one of her dolls and a cryptic message. Little does she know, a woman has been murdered and her body displayed just like that of the doll. It seems like somebody out there with mother issues blames Annalise and her dolls for the horrors they suffered as a child. Luckily for Annalise, she has started a romance with detective Tyler King, and he is investigating those very murders. Her estranged father and half-brother have also come back into her life. Could her new happiness be threatened by the psycho on the loose?

As far as romantic suspense novels go, "Every Move You Make" sits at the top end of the scale. It was very refreshing to have two main characters who didn't want to make me reach into the pages of the book and slap them both silly. Annalise isn't some fragile wilting flower, and Tyler isn't some melodramatic alpha-male. They both seem to have their heads about them, lending some credibility to their developing relationship. Annalise's issues with her dead mother, her desire to continue her mother's legacy (she inherited the doll company from her) and her bitterness over what she feels is her father's abandonment of her is believable and provides a good context for her reluctance to fully embrace a relationship with Tyler. No, it's not the stuff of deep intellectual literary drama, but it makes Annalise a much more rounded character than what this genre usually provides. Yes, her heart flutters whenever she's around Tyler, but he's not all she thinks about. Following her journey of personal enlightenment isn't nearly as tiresome as it could have been.

Just to be clear: there's nothing new here. It's probably a little slower-paced than your typical romantic thriller. The killer's motive is as hold as the hills and his identity rather arbitrary (my excuse for when I'm not able to pick it). But all in all, there's not a lot I can really complain about here. I'm a huge fan of TV movies featuring a B-list actress playing a damsel in distress. "Every Move You Make" was like a TV movie in written form. I could easily see this tale nicely fitting a 90-minute midday movie. Take from that what you will, but from me it's a pretty high endorsement. A pleasant surprise.

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