by Frances Housden

January 2001
ISBN: 0-373-27126-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Silhouette #1056
Mass Market Paperback

A woman with visions afraid to sleep and dream, a sergeant refusing to believe, a hunger for love and passion and a murder to be prevented come together in Frances Housden’s debut release - the riveting and lush romantic suspense, The Man For Maggie.

Three murdered women and the only one able to help Detective Max Strachan solve the crime is the irresistible psychic Maggie Kovacs. Unable to stay away from her, Max discovers that Maggie’s prejudice against cops and his previous bad experiences with so-called fortunetellers won’t deter him from going after the one he needs. The one that brings out the hero in him in not only protecting her but also in believing and supporting her!

When Max spots her across the room and is introduced to her in the book’s first scene, all his senses are filled with her. Maggie. And trust me it’s not just the hero’s senses that are kept riveted to the heroine! With Ms. Housden’s talent for providing sensory descriptions and details it was easy enough to visualize any scene. Beautiful! The Man For Maggie is set in New Zealand! Even more importantly, the story is set in the sensory world of wines and vineyards. Like a rich and full-bodied red wine, this goes down smoothly, but also like many a sweet and heavy wine, too much might lead to a headache. So, even though I admire Ms. Housden for her talent in descriptive story telling I feel that it is in danger of smothering the plot, slowing down the pace and distracting me from the story by lingering over too many small details. But then there are scenes, where those details effortlessly combine the intense characterization with a suspense that is evident and strong enough to hold any reader enthralled. Coming up with twists and turns I did not expect; never till the very end did I figure out the killer.

What I did miss was an amount of uncertainty in the characters' feelings for each other, as the attraction between the two of them is so strong, that passion and lust seem to dispense any doubts or reasons. Especially for Maggie, whose infatuation with Max, is painfully and accurately described, but not explained.

Frances Housden shows a love for the written word that is stronger and more intense than I would expect from a category romance. And her talent in setting the mood and evoking my senses and therefore enveloping me in intense emotions, make Ms Housden a new voice worth discovering. If not with The Man For Maggie than definitely though with the August 2002 release Love Under Fire.

Reviewed in July 2002 by Kris Alice.

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