This Time Forever
by Janice Sims, contemporary (2001)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-242-8


There is really a lot to like about This Time Forever if you ask me. For one, this book is set in a quiet northwest Florida town where - gasp! - there are more than one race of folks living together. This is something that will give Woody "Whitewashed New York In My Films, Please" Allen heart palpitations, I tell you. And this book also dares address the underlying tension between the two communities and the possibility of bridging that racial differences.

Not that this is a interracial romance, but it does portray the possibility of one between the heroine Kerry Everett and an Other Man (who isn't a scumbag).

And the murder mystery that plagues the town is also pretty well done and readable. Another plus.

Kerry is a Chief of Police, not some sissy librarian or schoolteacher whose ambition consist solely of getting laid with some boyfriend who dumped her back in high school. She doesn't make apologies for her ambitions. Cool.

Not cool? The cursory, shallowly portrayed romance between Kerry and her old flame FBI agent Maceo Kent. Maybe it's because of a lack of space, because I've read books by this author before where she proves that she can do amazing drama on a good day, but whatever it is, the romance between those two is pretty "Eh" enough to almost spoil my mood.

Kerry and Mac are reunited when a murder of a drug dealer takes place and he and his team step in to investigate. They soon find themselves facing the drug racket in the sleepy small town, but along the way, I am also treated with delightful scenes of Kerry and her family and friends. It's a rare suspense than balances character development and mystery well, but This Time Forever pulls it off pretty decently.

What's wrong with the romance? Well, for one, I'm told that they love each other. Fine, but that's all I got from this story - I'm told, but I'm shown. The characters keep telling each other they love the other, but it's all talk. They spend more time interacting with other people or trying to solve the case. When they declare their big love to each other, I scratch my head and just nod. Whatever, dear.

Still, not bad. Janice Sims prove that she can handle romantic suspense pretty well. Now if only she can find a balance between the romance and the suspense.

Rating: 84


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