by Julie Garwood

August 2004
ISBN: 0-345-45382-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Ballantine Books

Regan Hamilton Madison has it all. Wealth, beauty, a high-powered executive position in her family’s renowned hotel business and yet Regan still reverts to her childhood feelings of inadequacy. She shares a lifelong bond with her two best friends, Cordie, and investigative reporter Sophie, who draws Regan into Sophie’s investigation of an unscrupulous self-help doctor. At Sophie’s insistence, the three friends attend one of the doctor’s costly seminars, and take part in an exercise in which everyone must write a list of all people who have done harm or wrong to them. At the end of the program, everyone tosses their list into a fire to be “rid” of their anger and hurt at these people. Receiving a cell call in the middle of the program, Regan must leave the building and takes her list with her. Pretty much putting the list out of her mind following a near fatal encounter with a stalker, a mysterious email is delivered to Regan with an attachment of a photo of a grisly murder scene. The victim in the graphic picture is the first person on Regan’s list! The sender has promised that others from Regan’s list will meet similar ends! At her friends' and family’s insistence Regan goes to the police and is assigned one of Chicago’s toughest no nonsense detectives to guard her, Detective Alec Buchanan.

Alec Buchanan is a loose cannon in the Chicago PD. Having had a slight “difference of opinion” with his lieutenant, Alec has decided to finally accept a position with the FBI. Having turned in his notice, and looking forward to spending his last weeks on the job pushing paper work, Alec is pressed into active duty one more time. Assigned to guard gorgeous Regan Hamilton Madison is not going to be easy especially trying to keep Alec’s and Regan’s mutual attraction in check. There is a crazed serial killer out there murdering people off that silly list Regan had made. The killer is getting his jollies toying with Regan reminding her that she will be the last one he goes after!

The third in New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood’s suspense thrillers about the sexy Buchanan brothers, Murder List just doesn’t measure up to the previous two, Killjoy and Heartbreaker. Disappointing and with a convoluted plot, Murder List left this reader feeling lost and confused. Several times I caught myself backtracking trying to keep up with the way-too-many primary characters. Keeping tabs on who was who and what they were to the storyline makes the read very unenjoyable and a chore. Regan can be annoying. Even with all her wealth, loving family and friends she still comes across as whiney. At one point in the story, her older over-protective brother trades in her old bomb car for a brand new BMW, (wish someone would gift me with one), something Reagan had already made up her mind to do since it was because of the clunker car she almost didn’t get away from her attacker. Yet once Aidan does it, she goes ballistic, and continues harping on this little matter way past its importance! I was feeling very unsympathetic towards her through the entire book. Alec unlike his brothers comes across as borderline obnoxious. He wants Regan, yet he also wants the FBI, he thinks he can’t have it both ways, it is more like he doesn’t want to find a way to try. I so enjoyed Julie Garwood’s previous novels, especially her historicals. I would recommend readers stick with them, and bypass this one.

Reviewed in February 2005 by Bonnie.

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