Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cooper's Deal by KI Thompson

Publisher:               Bold Strokes Books

Addy Cooper is called home suddenly by the death of her grandmother in an accident that certainly is unusual. She's hit by a piece of debris from space. Addy doesn't have anything to hold her in California since she's managed to lose her job and her lover in the same day, so she returns to Deale, Maryland, to plan the funeral and care for her brother Tommy, who thinks he's a bird and lives in a tree house. This might seem funny, but what Addy has to deal with certainly isn't. Her brother is fleeing from a tragedy early in their lives and she is forced to take in boarders to support them because she can't risk moving him anywhere else.

Unfortunately, Addy arrives back in town just as the FBI is launching an investigation into possible terrorist activity in the town and then a dead body is found on the Coopers’ land. Addy finds herself having to deal with Officer Karen Kaczarowski, the love of her life who betrayed her six years before. Karen is still interested in Addy, but so is Liberty McDonald, a new boarder with an ulterior motive. Addy is totally shaken when she finds that both she and Tommy are suspects in the murder and she knows she has to do anything to protect her brother.

Addy doesn't know who to trust as she finds herself drawn to both Karen and Liberty only to have them both suspect her of being a killer. When she realizes the terrorists might be coming after Tommy, she'll have to take a chance on one of the women and maybe end up ruining things for herself and Tommy forever.

There is a lot to recommend this book. It shows the type of close-knit community that can exist in a small town, especially one that comes together to protect a man-boy who can't face the reality of his situation. There are quirky characters who become endearing when they will do anything to protect Tommy from the forces that would harm him, including the FBI. Tommy could be a comic figure when he flaps his arms like wings and caws, until the reader understands what drove him to this behavior and then he becomes a sympathetic character.

The would-be terrorists are detailed just enough to reveal how they set the investigation in motion and to show the threat they could be to the Coopers. Addy at times is irritating in her behavior, but her devotion to Tommy is admirable and she shines when compared to Liberty McDonald. The undercover agent is a female predator who will say anything to get a woman into bed and doesn't mind abusing her authority to collect evidence. The fact that she becomes almost a buffoon by the end of the book is one of its more rewarding aspects.

Cooper's Deale isn't truly a comedy, though it does have some funny scenes in it. It is a romance, but the major message seems to be how confusing it can be to decide what or who you really want and that you'll make mistakes along the way to deciding. It certainly is topical in that it features domestic terrorists who want to use a "dirty" bomb and deals somewhat with the terrible environmental damage being done to the Chesapeake Bay.

The book is an enjoyable combination of romance and adventure with some parts that will make the reader laugh, but it's hardly the slapstick tale that the blurb on the cover seems to indicate. If the reader likes a happy ending however, and believes that love conquers all, this is the book to read.

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