Pulse Points
by Mary Lynn Baxter, contemporary (2003)
MIRA, $6.50, ISBN 1-55166-731-2

Pulse Points is another mediocre entry into the romantic suspense subgenre, as if we need another one of those. The heroine Kasey Ellis is a completely whiny and useless heroine that I really have no idea what the hero Tanner Hart sees in her, other than he and she once had a one-night stand that resulted in her getting pregnant and foisting her son onto the man that later married her. It is hard to muster any empathy for a heroine that's proven herself to be selfish clingy pole from the start.

Kasey witnesses her business mentor getting shot, but she blanks out on the face and any other description that will aid the police in identifying the killer. Then she realizes that her public relations firm is near bankrupt! Ohmigosh... although judging from Kasey's intelligence so far, I probably shouldn't be surprised that this woman has no idea what is going on in the company that she helps to run until it's too late. In comes Tanner. He was the typical bad boy turned rich hero, et cetera, and now he wants to be a politician. Apparently he needs a PR firm to back him up and instead of getting the PR firm of Dubby, he decides to hire Kasey instead.

The mystery is hopeless - in fact, late in the story, the entire mystery revolves around whether the hero is guilty or not. What do you think, dear reader? (For the author's sake, maybe we should at least pretend to ponder over that question a bit.) Kasey as the ubiquitous Mother and Martyr heroine archetype is selfish, cowardly, and a hopeless mess of tears and whiny complains. Tanner is okay, although I have a sneaky suspicion that he's probably one of those Republican apologist poster boys ("We have children out of wedlock, but we're still wonderful politicians!"). The characters are essentially stereotypes and they are trapped in a predictable plot.

Pulse Points isn't a romantic suspense as much as it is yet another "Secret Baby, Martyr Woman, A Few Love Scenes, and A Dead Body" book churned out under the guise of being a romantic suspense book. When Ms Baxter finally follows where the money is and writes a chick-lit book, as I'm sure the MIRA editor will gently suggest to her to do so one of these days, I hope her chick-lit books will fare better than her romantic suspense books. Pulse Points is a near flat-line, saved only by the fact that I can finish this book in one sitting without me falling into a boredom-induced stupor.

Rating: 50

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