by Linda Winstead Jones

March 2002
ISBN: 0-373-27207-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Silhouette #1137
Mass Market Paperback

In Capturing Cleo someone is killing people who upset Cleo Tanner. The first murder brings singer Cleo and Detective Luther Malone together and although Cleo is suspect number one Malone soon comes to believe otherwise. Now all he has to do is find the real killer and keep Cleo safe. What better way to do both than to stay close to Cleo? Real close.

Capturing Cleo made me smile. While reading it, I'd be pulled out of the story by some outside intrusion like the phone ringing or a dog barking and realize that I'd been grinning rather idiotically for the past several minutes.

I could say a lot about what Capturing Cleo isn't. It's not an intense, deeply compelling, thought provoking novel. It's not a huge mystery. And it didn't earn an honored place on my Most Prized Keepers shelf. However, I liked this book. Cleo was sharp, witty and very cool from the start. And as the story progressed these character traits were joined by other softer, equally appealing ones. Luther's character was okay. I'm a sucker for a gruff, grumbling hero, so I enjoyed Luther, but I came away thinking he could have been... more. Several of the characters were like that, Cleo's best friend and next door neighbor, Luther's partner and Cleo's sister. I'm torn between hoping the author gives them each their own story and wishing this book had been expanded to allow for more character development.

The plot was well done. There was a guy, a girl, some love and two murders. By a third of the way through most people would be at least 85% sure of who the murderer is, but it's that 15% possibility that will keep people reading and wondering 'til the end.

Bottom line? I liked the plot, characters and I loved the writing style, but the book would have been better if it had been either longer or with a few less interesting secondary characters. Although, I'm looking forward to PI Boone Sinclair's story and have every intention of reading it as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Reviewed in June 2002 by JaToya.

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